Launching the International Year of Family Farming in Rural Australia

On the 9th of March, in the regional New South Wales town of Cowra, surrounded by vineyards, sheep, wheat, beetroot, asparagus and lettuce farms, UNIC Canberra launched the 2014 International Year of Family Farming.

The launch took place during the Cowra Festival of International Understanding, which was themed the United Nations for the 50th anniversary.

UNIC Canberra Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe, launched the International Year with the local Federal Member, Mr Angus Taylor MP and NSW Department of Primary Industries Acting Director General, Mr Michael Bullen.

Mr Woodthorpe highlighted the importance of the International Year to Australia and a wide range of local issues such as food security, resource conservation and biodiversity. He also highlighted its relevance as the vast majority of farms are family owned and run.

Mr Taylor recounted his own personal experiences growing up on a family farm to highlight the importance of issues that were raised by the year for the region and Australia as a whole, including sustainability.

Farmers from around the Cowra region attended the event held at the Cowra Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, which was decorated with portraits of local farming families.

Dr David Hopkins from the Station spoke of its long history of work in the industry and the integral role it plays in agricultural research in wheat and sheep farming.

Passionately speaking from the perspective of a family farmer, Mr Chris Groves from the NSW Farmers Association, illustrated the role of family farming in Australia and the need to shine a light on the issues they face.

A plaque was unveiled at the station to commemorate the event, which was held in partnership with the Cowra Council and the Cowra Agricultural Research and Advisory Station.