REGARDLESS of the unprecedented increase in property values, spending time in rural industry gaining practical experience remained the proven, if not only realistic, path to owning farmland outside a family structure.
In a frank panel discussion at the Rural Press Club, Queensland pastoralist Peter Hughes said that ever since he had been involved in the cattle industry there had been cries about how to get young people onto their own land.
"First of all they have to get the experience," Mr Hughes said.
"There is no point giving someone land and expecting they will make a success of it. They won't. You'll kill them.
"They need to stay for at least two years on one place, then they can hold your own anywhere."
Mr Hughes said experience was not just about learning the positive aspects of agriculture.
"You have to go through the politics and the pain and agony, people not pulling their weight - whatever upsets them," he said.
"They've got to have the confidence and the know how to make it all work."
Mr Hughes said while the path may sound "a bit hard" it was a proven process.
"Young people wanting to get into agriculture have been doing it forever and they are going to have to keep doing it."
"They've got to go through it and that's where they get the experience."
The panel discussion moderated by award winning rural journalist Sue Neales also heard from leading rural property agent Danny Thomas from LAWD, who reinforced the need for experience.
"Nothing has changed in a hundred years. You have to pay your dues," Mr Thomas said.
"If you want to be a cattle farmer you go and buy some cattle, lease some country, share farm, you build your assets, keep investing in your assets and yourself over time, and then you find the right block and you buy the bloody thing.
"You take a cracking mouthful and chew like buggery and if you are any good you will make it."
You take a cracking mouthful and chew like buggery and if you are any good you will make it.- Danny Thomas, LAWD
QRIDA chief engagement officer Brendan Egan said the confidence and viability of agriculture was well reflected in the recently released Rural Debt Survey, which showed the average debt in Queensland stood at $1.39 million per borrower.
The telling point was the quality of that debt was strong with almost 95pc rated viable or long term viable, he said.
"There are many pathways to get into agriculture and it doesn't have to be through a family connection," Mr Egan said.
"We have supported a young couple, for instance, up in the Gulf who are leasing country and we've helped them invest in more breeding cattle.
"Gradually they will build up their breeding herd and one day, maybe they will be in the right position to purchase their own land.
"Land ownership might be the end goal, but there are a number of other goals they are trying to achieve a long the way."
Mr Egan said as a concessional lender, the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority focused on people and planning.
"We very much like to invest in people with that vision and to use the village of experience around them - the experienced neighbours and mentors in and around their industry," Mr Egan said.
"These are multi-million dollar businesses and even at the smaller end we encourage them to lean into the professional network around them including the accountants, lawyers and business planners."
Mr Egan said both the federal and state government were resourcing the development of farm business resilience plans.
"They're try to get it out of people's heads and into a plan and so they can work with the people around them to achieve those goals," he said.
"The plans are often ambitious but it has to start with a step."
Mr Hughes said the 13 years years he spent with Stanbroke Pastoral Company had taught him to identify opportunities.
"If the opportunity is there you have to grab it with both hands," Mr Hughes said.
"If you over analyse things, you wouldn't be game to it.
"Just do it and when things go bad, you'll work out a way.
"That's my philosophy anyway."
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