2012 will be Year of the Farmer

THE importance of the rural sector to all Australians and to the Australian economy will be celebrated in 2012 through an Australian Year of the Farmer (AYOF).

In announcing the initiative, AYOF Board Chairman and prominent NSW farmer Philip Bruem AM, said the Year would focus on the essential role Australian farmers and growers play in providing for our everyday needs.

“All farmers contribute to our national economy and social fabric, and the time is right for us to celebrate this on a national scale,” he said.

“We hope during the Year all people will come to understand that each of us has a common interest in what happens in the Australian countryside. The Year aims to foster greater connection and understanding between Australia’s rural and urban communities. We will be encouraging people to reflect on that common interest, particularly the food they eat and the fibre they use each day, and to look for, purchase, and appreciate Australian produce,” Mr Bruem said.

“Issues such as long-term food security, food safety, land and water management, and sustainability are especially important, and it is appropriate that as a nation, we acknowledge the role of our primary producers in dealing successfully with these issues. The focus will be very much on the future of our farming industries and the communities and businesses that support them,” he said.

Mr Bruem also announced that Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia had accepted the position as Patron for the Year.

“We have been very encouraged by the expressions of support already received from governments, as well as from a wide range of industry bodies and potential sponsors, and of course the Governor-General,” he said.

Australian Year of the Farmer has been supported by $160,000 in seed funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. This funding is in addition to $125,000 combined contribution from the State and Territory Governments.

“We have now begun approaching Australian businesses – many of which rely either directly or indirectly on farmers and growers – to seriously consider sponsoring the development and delivery of programs that showcase the vital importance of farming and rural communities,” Mr Bruem said.

He added the AYOF Board has begun talks with several high-profile rural and celebrity ambassadors to actively participate in the events and activities planned for the Year.

A full calendar of events will be announced in the lead-up to 2012.

“Local community groups and industry organisations are being invited to look for ways in which they can celebrate the Year,” Mr Bruem said.

“Planning events well in advance will help ensure their success and we will shortly be releasing further information to assist and encourage organisations and people from both country and city areas to use their imagination and creativity to design interesting and innovative ways of participating in the celebration,” he said.

More information on the AYOF can be found at www.yearofthefarmer.com.au. This website will become a portal for all activities associated with the year.

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