The United Nations has named 2014 the International Year of Family Farming, which is encouraging for many farmers across Australia.

Family farms remain the heart and soul of agriculture in Australia, according to a January 2 media release from the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

“99 per cent of Australian farms are family-owned and -operated – and this year, the United Nations-declared International Year of Family Farming gives us the opportunity to celebrate the enormous contribution these farmers make,” NFF President Brent Finlay said.

Mr Finlay reports that Australia’s 157,000 farmers produce approximately 93 per cent of Australia’s domestic food supply in addition to $38 billion in export income to the national economy.

“This year, the focus on our farmers via the International Year of Family Farming will help us tell their story and raise awareness of agriculture’s contribution,” Mr Finlay said.

The NFF also has another reason to celebrate this year, as 2014 marks the 35th anniversary of their founding. Formed in 1979, NFF has represented Australian farmers with a united national voice.

To mark both occasions, the organisation will host the NFF National Congress in Canberra in October this year.

Additionally, the NFF has made a commitment to enact the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture. This development will work to shape the future of farming across the country while maintaining a focus on community values, attitudes and expectations.

“We look forward to working with our members, farmers and all within agriculture to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming this year and to develop both our National Congress and the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture,” Mr Finlay said.

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