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7104.0.55.001 - Agriculture in Focus: Farming Families, Australia, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/08/2008  First Issue
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FARM BUSINESSES

Through its Agricultural Census and Surveys the ABS collects information relating to the agricultural production from farm businesses. These businesses are operated and managed by individuals, families and in some cases large companies and corporations. The information collected provides insight into the type and size of the agricultural production in Australia.

The Agricultural Census is conducted every five years to coincide with the Census of Population and Housing and includes farm businesses above a minimum size cut-off which are registered on the Australian Business Register maintained by the Australian Taxation Office. Farms with an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) or a turnover (as shown on the Business Activity Statement) of $5,000 or more were selected.

In 2005-06, there were 154,500 farm businesses with agricultural activity in Australia. The median estimated value of agricultural operations of all agricultural businesses was approximately $90,000. Around 21% (33,100) had an EVAO below $22,500 while, at the other end of the scale, around 11% (17,300) had an EVAO of above $499,999.

1.11 BUSINESSES WITH AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY BY STATE AND TERRITORY - Year ended 30 June 2006
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Australia

Number
48 773
37 112
32 163
16 447
14 485
4 739
654
99
154 472
Percentage
31.6
24.0
20.8
10.6
9.4
3.1
0.4
0.06

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 7121.0).


Table 1.12 shows the key commodities, by value, grown in each state of Australia for the 2005-06 year. The most valuable commodities produced by farm businesses in Australia were cattle and calves for slaughter followed by wheat production and milk production. In total, all commodities contributed $38.5 billion to the Australian economy which represents about 3% of the Gross Domestic Product for that year.

1.12 KEY COMMODITIES PRODUCED BY STATE AND TERRITORY- Year ended 30 June 2006
Selected Commodities
Total (a)
$ million
$ million
$ million
$ million

New South Wales
Cattle & Calves
1 603
Wheat
1 433
Wool
692
9 022
Victoria
Milk
2 187
Cattle & calves
1 268
Sheep & lambs
761
9 227
Queensland
Cattle & calves
3 607
Sugar cane for crushing
963
Bananas
380
8 709
South Australia
Wheat
829
Grapes
598
Barley
404
4 409
Western Australia
Wheat
1 992
Cattle & calves
539
Wool
508
5 793
Tasmania
Milk
209
Cattle & calves
179
Potatoes
74
1 045
Northern Territory
Cattle & calves
219
Mangoes
30
Crops for hay
^10
306
Australian Capital Territory
Eggs
6
Total crops
4
Cattle & calves
4
17
Australia
Cattle & calves
7 685
Wheat
5 099
Milk
3 341
38 528

^ Estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
(a) Total represents the Gross Value of Agricultural Production for the state or territory.
Source: Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 7503.0).


DIFFERENCE IN CLASSIFICATION

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) was used for the first time in the ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing to collect occupation statistics. In the past the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) had been used for this purpose. While the classification criteria for ANZSCO are essentially the same as those used for ASCO, the application of the skill level criterion has changed.

In ASCO, the skill level required for entry to an occupation was considered. In ANZSCO, it is the skill level required for competent performance of the set of tasks associated with the occupation which is used. This difference in the application of skill level has contributed to the difference between the amount of people classified as farmers using each classification.

In ASCO 'farm overseer' had a separate classification but it is now included across many categories in ANZSCO, including farmers and farm managers, and makes the largest contribution to the difference between farmer numbers in ASCO and ANZSCO. The number of farming families using the ANZSCO classification is 103,701.

In this article farmers and farmers in farming families were classified using the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) to allow comparison with the article Australian Social Trends 2003, Farming Families (cat. no. 4102.0).


LIST OF REFERENCES

Alston, M 2004, 'Who is down on the farm? Social aspects of Australian agriculture in the 21st century', Agriculture and Human Values, vol. 21, pp. 37-46.
Alston, M & Kent, J 2004, Social impacts of drought: a report to NSW Agriculture, Centre for Social Research, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.
Australian Social Trends, 2003, Farming families (ABS cat. no. 4102.0).
Australian Social Trends, 2007, Low Income Low Wealth Households (ABS cat. no. 4102.0).
Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2005-06 (ABS cat. no. 7121.0).
Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, February 2008 (ABS cat. no. 6291.0.55.003).
Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2005-06 (ABS cat. no. 7503.0).
Barclay, E, Foskey, R & Reeve, I 2007, Farm Succession and Inheritance – Comparing Australian and International Trends, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
Cary, JW, Webb, TJ & Barr, NF 2002, Understanding landholders’ capacity to change to sustainable practices. Insights about practice adoption and social capacity for change, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.
Land & Water Australia 2005, Australia's farmers, past, present and future, Land & Water Australia, Canberra.
Lim-Applegate, H, Rodriguez, G & Olfert, R 2002, 'Determinants of non-farm labour participation rates among farmers in Australia',The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 85-98.
National Farmers' Federation 2008, 2008 Labour Shortage Action Plan, National Farmers' Federation, Canberra.
Productivity Commission 2005, Trends in Australian Agriculture, Research Paper, Canberra.

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