In this today’s talking points, Australia’s farms continue to grow with foreign and domestic investment, new Agricultural Minister adopts a pro-active drought response policy, China still Australia’s agricultural export growth and Australian businesses share their success in the Chinese market.

The Weekly Times identifies Who owns Australia’s Farms

In their annual investigation of ‘Who Owns Australia’s Farms’, The Weekly Times’ remarks that scale is king in Australian agriculture.

The study encompasses nearly 1000 properties and their respective owners, ranging from family operators to domestic and international corporate institutions, finding their success only growing.

In terms of scale, the 20 largest Australian landholders occupy a combined 70 million hectares, more than France’s total 64.4-million-hectare area and about five times the size of England. Leading this is Outback Beef S Kidman and Co’s 7.92-million-hectare domain.

Foreign interests continue to play an important role in the ownership stakes with offshore interests accounting for about 13.4 per cent, or 52.6 million hectares, of Australian farmland.

The UK is the biggest investor with 10.24 million hectares followed by China (9.17 million hectares) and the US (2.66 million hectares).

Source: The Weekly Times

New Agricultural Minister Bridget McKenzie looks to Practical Drought responses

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Deputy Nationals Leader and Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie as Australia’s first Agricultural Minister as part of a broad cabinet reshuffle.

Queensland MP David Littleproud, Bridget McKenzie’s predecessor in the agriculture portfolio, has retained his cabinet seat along with the Water Portfolio, adding Minister for Drought, Natural Disasters, Emergency Management and Rural Finance to his title.

Senator McKenzie promises to get practical responses on the ground to the ‘farmers doing it tough at the moment’, as opposed to one of Nationals leader Michael McCormack’s drought response policies of “praying for rain”.

Source: ABC News; Weekly Times Now; Weatherzone

China still Australia’s top market for Agricultural Exports

An analysis by Rural Bank shows that China is still Australia’s top trading partner, having hit $12 billion in Australian exports to China, growing 16% from 2017-2018. This is significantly ahead of Australia’s second partner, Japan with exports at $4.74 billion and the US’ $3.83 billion.

The growth in exports to China – now valued at $11.89 billion – was largely due to an increase in trade of wool, sheep meat, beef and wine.

Mr Dundon said ever-growing Asia demand was driving much of Australia’s agriculture export growth, with free-trade agreements leaving Australia “reasonably well set up” for the future.

Aware of their reliance on its top markets, Australia looks also to other opportunities, including the Indonesian free-trade deal signed last month and a European Union free-trade deal now in negotiation.

Source: The Weekly Times

Growing a business in China: how Australian businesses cracked the Chinese market

Lured by China’s booming cross-border e-commerce platforms and middle-class growth (forecasted to hit 550 million by 2022), many Australian businesses have taken to the expanding market.

Foreign produce is considered a high-end product, with consumers pushing expectations on delivery reliability and timeliness. Vincent Chen, imported, wholesaler and marketer of BiteRiot achieved a farm to table turnaround of 36 hours by establishing a quality control and logistics facility in China.

Following concerns of struggling competitiveness, Australians are advised to do the necessary research, engage with exporting experts, build your brand and practise patience.

Source: ABC News