26 Dec Australia’s first farm comes alive again to launch Year of the Farmer 2012
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the site of Australia’s first European farm, welcomed farmers, farm animals, farm machinery and a map of Australia made of fresh produce onsite today for the national announcement that 2012 will be the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Patron, the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC, officially launched the Year in conjunction with Ambassador Glenn McGrath and his wife Sara, and Natalie Gruzlewski, host of Television’s Farmer Wants a Wife.
Designed to celebrate the contribution farmers make to the Australian economy and community, the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is an education and awareness campaign founded by a not-for-profit, non-political organisation.
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens was transformed into an agricultural showpiece to celebrate the broad range and fine quality of the produce Australian farmers grow and harvest, with an impressive horticultural display of produce grown in each state and territory arranged to form a map of Australia.
A selection of prize winning stud animals including an Angus bull, alpacas and Merino sheep, as well as a New Holland T7.6 tractor driving against the backdrop of the Sydney skyline added to the agricultural atmosphere.
Following the launch, Australian Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC, joined local school children and Royal Botanical Gardens Executive Director, Professor David Mabberley, in planting a citrus tree at the site of the first farm in Australia.
Conceived by NSW-based farmer Philip Bruem AM, and former Sydney Markets CEO Geoff Bell, Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is a year-long program of activities that will celebrate the contribution farmers and rural communities make to our national economy and society.
“Australian Year of the Farmer recognises what farmers do for all Australians. Australia’s farmers should be recognised and celebrated: for feeding the nation, for leading the world in farming techniques and innovation, and for sustaining the vital agribusinesses that underpin our economy. Farmers are the providers of our nation.
“Every person who eats food is connected to farming. Every person who wears a wool coat is connected to farming. Every person who has timber in their house construction or sits at a wooden table is connected to farming.
“We encourage all Australians to reflect on the origins of the food they consume and the fibre and other products they use every day and to seek out and buy Australian produce wherever possible,” Mr Bruem said.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry the Hon Joe Ludwig MP said the year-long celebration would highlight how Australia is leading the world in farming techniques and innovation.
“I congratulate the founders of Australian Year of the Farmer for creating this program which I believe will highlight the essential role of Australian agriculture to the maintenance of national and global food security.
“It will showcase the role our farmers play as environmental managers, creating and delivering sustainability through best practice management,” Senator Ludwig said.
As part of the Australian Year of the Farmer program, a range of events, initiatives and educational programs will be rolled out across the nation throughout 2012. Highlights will include a nine-vehicle One Country Roadshow travelling more than 56,000kms to attend more than 400 events, an unprecedented an Agricultural Innovation and Technology Expo as well as the most significant food event to be held in Australia, Food of Origin Extravaganza, to promote the quality and origin of Australian food products – from ‘wheat to meat’ and ‘paddock to plate’. Education will be a strong focus, as will the many career opportunities available in the agribusiness sector. A photo competition, a commemorative collector’s coin and stamps as well as a TV program and privileges card have all been planned as part of the celebration.
A non-political, not-for profit organisation, Australian Year of the Farmer is made possible by Foundation Partners Elders and Woolworths, and major partners Fairfax Media, oOH! Media, Toyota and PMP. Seed funding for the development of the Year was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry with support from all States and Territory Governments.
Elders Chairman, Mr John Ballard said his organisation was committed to supporting the Year and Australian farming.
“Whether we live in a city or rural community, the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 serves as an opportunity to better understand the contribution that farmers make to our daily lives and recognise the importance of those who have chosen to live and work on the land. Australian farms, when combined with closely-related sectors, generate $155 billion-a-year in production and provide almost 93% of the nation’s domestic food supply.
“Elders understands the business of farming can be tough and often comes with little acknowledgement for the hard work involved, it’s great to support an initiative which puts the efforts of farmers in the national spotlight,” Mr Ballard said.
Woolworths’ General Manager of Fresh Food, Pat McEntee echoed the importance of farming to Australian families.
“We source 100 per cent of the fresh meat and poultry and 97 per cent of the fruit and vegetables sold in Woolworths supermarkets from Australian producers and growers. Australian farmers support Woolworths and our customers – and we’re proud to support them,” Mr McEntee said.
Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is a year-long program of activities that will celebrate the contribution farmers and rural communities make to our nation – offering recognition for: feeding the nation, for leading the world in farming techniques and innovation, and for sustaining the vital agribusinesses that underpin the Australian economy.
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