Agriculture accounts for 3 percent of Australia’s gross domestic product, with a gross value of $60 billion in 2019 and $66 billion in 2020. But are farmers rich in Australia?
Agriculture has been one of the most significant industries in this country, both in terms of domestic production and the value of exports. Given this, it’s rational when many assume that Australian farmers are wealthy. This article will help you find out if they are.
Are Farmers Rich In Australia?
No, they are not. Agriculture has long been an industry associated with a volatile financial outlook, but not many farmers are wealthy.
The list of the 250 richest individuals in Australia is those from sectors like investment, property development, marketing, technology, and services. Only two farmers – one does his business on dairy and another built their wealth on wine – are in the top 10.
So farmers in Australia are not rich, I suppose. There are farmers with big fortunes, but they actually made money elsewhere and then invested in farming. So we can’t say that these are rich Australian farmers.
Why Australian Farmers Are Not Rich?
More frequent and severe droughts
Australia is usually hit by rainfall deficiencies. The worst droughts that affected the country were from 2003 to 2012. From 2017 to current, more severe droughts hit the country again.
Recently, many regions like Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and other parts of South and Western Australia are still in significant drought.
Farmers have been hard hit by the prolonged dry weather. Some have to sell half of their sheep herd, others need to feed orange peel to their cattle. Still, many drought-affected farmers are reluctant to leave their farms, as these are the places that they have been living in for generations.
There are government policies to solve this problem, but the situation was only improved in certain parts of the country.
Lack of farmworkers
Since the Covid-19 pandemic tears its way through different continents across the globe, Australia’s agriculture has been strongly affected. Border closures and other measures to keep the coronavirus out of the country have left Australia with a lack of 26,000 farm workers.
Many farmers said that they’ve never faced such a worker shortage like this in the last 40 years. Before the pandemic, more than 200,000 backpackers come to Australia every year, making up 80% of the country’s harvest workforce. In 2020, there were only 45,000, leading to a waste of tens of millions of dollars, as crops were not harvested.
Investing in farming has been already a risky business because of the unpredictability of weather conditions. Now the pandemic has exposed the problem of an insecure labor workforce. That said, farmers are nowhere near rich people in Australia.
There are several attempts from government bodies to solve the labor shortage problem with unemployed Australians, as the country’s agriculture is highly reliant on unskilled migrant labor, but these programs were unsuccessful.
The key reason is that displaced Australian workers are reluctant to leave home and network in urban areas to relocate to rural areas. In addition, they are not willing to perform physically demanding jobs from early in the morning till late in the evenings.
Australia is a leading exporter of grains, meats, and wool. The market for cattle was originally more regional but is becoming important globally, thanks to the considerable expanses of land.
However, Australian farmers are not rich because of harsh weather conditions and labor shortfalls. These issues cause a loss of income for people in the farming industry. In short, there are rich people in Australia, but only very few of them are farmers.