Next gen in the driver's seat

ABARES says ag workforce is getting younger

Cropping
Pacific Seeds seed production agronomist Renee Wildman is one of the newest faces looking to make her mark within agriculture.

Pacific Seeds seed production agronomist Renee Wildman is one of the newest faces looking to make her mark within agriculture.

Aa

Pacific Seeds seed production agronomist Renee Wildman is one of the newest faces looking to make her mark within agriculture.

Aa

For generations, the fertile soils of Australia's farmland have been responsible growing some of the world's greatest food and fibres.

But these paddocks have also produced some wonderful young people, who are now stepping up as the industry's newest generation of farmers and agronomists.

If a field day doesn't make it clear that Australia's agricultural workforce is getting younger, then a recently-released snapshot from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences certainly does, highlighting that the proportion of under 35-year-olds working in the industry is on the rise.

One of the newest faces looking to make her mark in the sector is Pacific Seeds seed production agronomist Renee Wildman, who said she's always been set on a career in agriculture.

"Last year, I graduated from my agronomy studies at UQ (University of Queensland) and the course really cemented my desire to work in this field - agronomy is very hands on and extremely rewarding," Ms Wildman said.

"It's a really exciting time to be a part of this industry, but for Australian agriculture to continue to evolve we are going to need young Australians to take an interest and understand the incredible impact this sector has.

"I grew up on a farm which has given me a strong appreciation and understanding of the hard work that goes into this industry, but you definitely don't have to be from a farming background to build a great career for yourself in agriculture.

"It's important that the next generation that enters this industry upholds its history and culture, but also that they contribute new ideas and a fresh outlook."

With technology driving rapid industry change, each new generation of workers helps agriculture become more resilient, innovative, and diverse - something that governments are trying to cultivate.

In late 2019, then-Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie announced the development of the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy, which will investigate ways to ensure a sustainable future workforce for the sector with an aim to attract, retain and upskill the domestic workforce.

Ms Wildman said there was a lot to love about working in ag.

"The work is very rewarding, and you won't find a more welcoming or supportive community," she said.

"So many people my age value a career that is fulfilling, challenging and can take them around the country, and agriculture ticks all of those boxes.

"Agriculture is such a rich part of Australian culture and I couldn't think of a better industry to grow within."

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