A FARMER'S dream to pass on his land to his son has become a thing of the past for many local families.
The number of farmers across the nation has dropped 40 per cent in the past 30 years and 11 per cent since 2006.
Yenda farmer Orazio Raciti proudly passed his farm on to son Sebastian 20 years ago, expecting it to provide a solid income into the future.
But the high Australian dollar, low commodity prices, weather extremes and waning support from governments have turned farming fortunes around and Sebastian is not so sure he wants to pass the farm on to his own son, 12-year-old Samuel.
"In 20 years, I've seen a big change in the industry and I'm at the point where I have a second job to make sure I can provide all the things I want for my family," Sebastian said.
"Before we saw farming as a lifestyle but we can't rely on that anymore it's a cut-throat business and you have to be very aware of everything you spend.
"Instead of expecting my son to take over the farm, my advice to him is to do whatever his heart desires first and get himself a trade. The farm will always be there for him later if he wants it."
The Racitis grow 60 acres of prunes and wine grapes and own a contract prune-drying service.
"When I handed the farm to my son, it was a completely reasonable thing to do, but now there's no future on a farm," Orazio said.
Last year, the federal government announced a push for Australia to become the food bowl for Asia but many believed its controversial Murray-Darling Basin Plan showed a lack of support for the farmers growing that food.
At the same time, the state government has cut back funding for agricultural services including resources at the Hanwood Department of Primary Industries office and $2 million from fruit fly eradication in the Riverina.
Griffith farmer John Bonetti said he felt for farmers with only one operation as the industry became harder to sustain.
Mr Bonetti works three farms with two of his sons, while his other two boys have moved away.
"Two of my boys left because of the drought and I think we would have struggled to build a future for all of them if they'd stayed on," Mr Bonetti said.
"I can understand anyone who has a single farm, with low commodity prices and increasing machinery expenses, is getting to the stage where their operations aren't viable anymore. I really feel for them."