Calling all farmers

RIGHT across the country we're hearing opportunities in agriculture are opening up for young people, with skills shortages becoming an increasing problem.

We'd love to see more young people taking up these opportunities but how do they get their start? The answer could come from the old hands in the industry.

These farmers have two great assets to offer the next generation that are highly under-utilised.

The first is their experience. Young people need the opportunity to experience work on a farm for themselves to see if it's right for them. But many don't know how to go about it.

RDA has launched a program called Pathways into Agriculture which aims to show young people all the many pathways into local agricultural jobs.

Are you a farmer or agribusiness professional who is willing to take on work experience kids, or school based traineeships? Do you have current job vacancies or skills needs?

We're putting together a list of willing agribusiness people to provide to high school careers advisers and ag teachers in your locality. This will ensure that kids who might fit a career in the industry can have those opportunities.

The second great asset held by many of our mature-aged farmers is unused agricultural land. Farmers who have reached a stage where they are looking to slow down may own valuable agricultural land that is not being used to its full capacity. It grows weeds when it could be making the landowner money.

There are plenty of young farmers looking to run an agribusiness but they don't have the means to purchase land of their own. Through careful consideration of a leasing or share farming arrangement with a landowner, this can present a win-win business opportunity. RDA is calling this its affordable farming program.

Are you sitting on unused agricultural land and you're willing to look at leasing or share farming as an income stream?

RDA will soon launch a free website service that will connect you with young farmers who are looking to get into farming through leasing or share farming arrangements.

We're asking for farmers with available agricultural land to contact us and register your interest.

Contact the RDA office (5525 1500) and together let's help to develop the next generation of farmers and agribusiness professionals.

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