People are a cotton farm’s greatest asset and cotton growers play an important part in their local communities. Cotton farm workers in Australia are paid fairly and treated with respect, and our growers spend significant amounts of their own time and money in local communities.
A Family Business
90% of Australia's cotton farms are owned by family farmers, representing around 80% of the crop. These are inter-generational family businesses that grow food and fibre crops to feed and clothe the world. Nearly a quarter of Australian cotton farmers are women.
Jobs for the Bush
Cotton farms in Australia employ over 10,000 people on farms alone, not including the extensive use of on-farm contractors. Post-farm gate, the industry directly employs a further estimated 1,700 people in marketing and export, cotton classing and in the 41 regional gins. The industry also supports jobs for agronomists, rural suppliers and other input providers.
Australia's cotton farmers are economically sustainable, allowing them to reinvest in their farms, the economy and the local community. In the five years to 2018 average
profitability of growing irrigated cotton grew by 76% due to high prices and yields and favourable exchange rates.
In 2018-19, cotton growers reported spending 93% of their business expenses in the local area and/or nearest regional centre.
The Australian cotton industry has a long history of supporting local businesses and sponsoring community projects to assist those in need, from rural mental health to local rugby clubs and rural breast cancer centres. Recently the industry has begun helping overseas cotton farmers to improve their practices by sharing what they’ve learned through the Better Cotton Initiative.
Of the Australian cotton growers surveyed by CRDC in 2019:
- 74% regularly attended local events
- 71% made regular donations or sponsored local charities or activities
- 65% were involved in a local community group
- 52% were actively involved in local sport
- 36% were actively involved in local schools