The week's news and insights from the National Farmers' Federation
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Welcome to the NFF’s Weekly Wrap, bringing you the week’s farming and political news each Friday.
National Agriculture Day is coming - Friday 20 November
There is less than one month to go before Australia celebrates National Agriculture Day (AgDay) on Friday 20 November. This year, Australians are encouraged to hold a COVID safe Long Table Lunch or get involved in the #AgDayAU Bake Off. Whether you’re celebrating at home, in your backyard or in the paddock make sure you register an event to receive a free AgDay pack which features the hugely popular ‘I Love Farmers’ t-shirt.
Farmers & tourism operators call for the return of backpackers
The NFF and the Backpacker and Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP) have called for a three-phased approach to safely resume the flow of backpackers to Australia to help with the immediate labour shortage impacting Australian agriculture, specifically those felt by the horticulture, cotton, grains and dairy sectors.

Big wet raises alarm for harvest
A significant rain  event is forecast to hit Australia’s East Coast this weekend, causing concern for some grain growers who have already started their harvest season. Northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are expected to be hardest hit with widespread falls of up to 50 millimetres predicted.
Vietnam provides new opportunity for Aussie grain
According to Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), Vietnam’s malting barley imports are set to nearly double by 2030. AEGIC is working with Vietnamese brewers and maltsters to ensure Australia maintains a significant share in this burgeoning market.   
Weekly insight
Bumper harvest under way
As headers fire up across the country, the latest Winter Crop Production Forecast Report released by Rabobank predicts a 2020/21 crop of 47.4 million tonnes, up 63% from last year and 16% compared to the five year average ..
Source: Rabobank, 2020
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Farmers and tourism operators unite in bid to bring back backpackers

This week, the NFF and Backpacker & Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP) joined forces to call for a controlled and COVID safe restart of the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program.

The plea comes as the number of backpackers in Australia continues to decline, with the current numbers already sitting at less than half this time last year.

Before COVID-19, backpackers made up to 80% of agriculture’s seasonal workforce. A recent report released by EY and commissioned by Hort Innovation forecast the horticulture sector alone to have a worker deficit of up to 26,000 workers by March 2021.

The deficit means Australia’s fresh fruit and vegetable industry could suffer a $6.3 billion reduction in value. The worker shortage may also place pressure on the availability of some varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Australian Bureau of Statistics' job figures released this week show the number of people employed in agriculture has declined significantly in recent months, eclipsed only by industries like hospitality and performing arts which have been directly affected by the pandemic. With one of the strongest harvest seasons in recent memory the only explanation is not that there is a shortage of work but rather a shortage of workers.

BYTAP representative Wendi Aylward said the contribution of WHM arrivals to the economy could not be underestimated.

“Backpackers represent an important sector for Australia’s visitor economy worth $3.2 billion, delivering more than 200,000 young international travellers to Australia each year.

“WHMs spend more, stay longer and disperse more widely throughout Australia than most other travellers. Each WHM brings $5,000 with them as a visa requirement, and spends $10,300 during their stay, compared to $687 per trip that Australians spend domestically and $474 spent by Australian youth domestically.”

In a joint letter to Government, the NFF and BYTAP call for a  3-phased approach to safely resume the flow of backpackers which has also been supported by the Tourism and Transport Forum.

Quote of the week
“Backpackers represent an important sector for Australia’s visitor economy worth $3.2 billion, delivering more than 200,000 young international travellers to Australia each year.”

Sent by the National Farmers' Federation, NFF House, 14-16 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2600

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