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NFF says Aussie farms need foreign cash

AAP logoAAP 10/10/2016 Greg Roberts

The National Farmers Federation welcomes Gina Rinehart's bid for S Kidman and Co that would keep the cattle empire Australian-owned, but also warns the agriculture industry will struggle without foreign investment.

Ms Rinehart has lodged a $365 million Australian-majority bid for 67 per cent of S Kidman and Co, with Chinese-owned Shanghai CRED to hold the other third.

An earlier bid this year from a Chinese-led consortium was scuttled by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Federation president Brent Finlay said it was an exciting time for Australian agriculture, which he said was predicted to increase in value "at the farm gate" from $60 billion to $100 billion in next 10 years.

But that would not happen without large amounts of capital being injected and there was not enough Australian cash for that, he said.

"For Australian agriculture to realise it's potential we need a lot of capital investment, certainly we would like to see a lot of domestic capital investment ... that's been very slow," he told ABC radio.

"Certainly the best model is that co-investment model if there is foreign money coming in, but to have Australian money with that."

He sought to allay fears about Chinese investment in Australian land.

He pointed out that the historical growth of Australian agriculture was driven by foreign money that was constantly changing, including the cattle feedlot industry that was developed by Japanese money.

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