LAST week, I left an Agribusiness Australia investment forum with the distinct feeling that investors have finally woken up to what farmers have known forever - the land that grows our food is valuable.
According to Core Logic data analysed by Elders, the median price per hectare of Australian farmland increased by 18.4 per cent in 2021.
The analysis states that SA experienced strong growth in median price/ha in the second half of 2021.
From anecdotal reports, the interest in SA farming land continues to remain strong with a local newspaper reporting the value of agricultural land on the Yorke Peninsula alone had risen by more than $1 billion (or 21.3pc) in the past year.
As one of the panellists at the investment forum, clearly inspired by a Mark Twain quote, put it - "buy farmland, they aren't making any more of it".
However, it does raise the question that constantly gets asked: "if farming land is so valuable, why are we sacrificing prime broadacre cropping land for housing?"
Granted, we need more housing to ensure our growing population can have a roof over their head.
But by selling up prime farming land for residential development, not only are we removing an economic generator, we are reducing the supply of quality cropping land, potentially further driving up prices and making it harder for the younger generation to buy their own farming property.
Last year, the federal government's' Regional Investment Corporation created the AgriStarter loan aimed at helping first farm buyers.
We understand this scheme has so far not had the predicted uptake.
Qld and Tas offer low interest loans to first time farmers, while some of the other states have stamp duty exemptions.
With upswing demand for Australian wheat, barley and canola, investment continues to swell in farming land and we need to do more to ensure new generations can succeed in agriculture.
Like any investment strategy it must be based on reality, not only passion, and finding solutions is of paramount importance to our farming communities.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.