The Nationals member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said a recent Rural and Regional parliamentary committee inquiry report into the Victorian agricultural industry found that for every agricultural science graduate, there were eight to nine jobs available.
“The Rural and Regional Committee conducted an Inquiry into the Capacity of the Farming Sector to Attract and Retain Young Farmers and found that agriculture in Victoria is well placed to offer rewarding careers to young people,” Mr Delahunty said.
Mr Delahunty said the Inquiry report, recently tabled in State Parliament, had provided much-needed positive news for an industry plagued by negative perceptions.
“The Committee heard many ideas about the best ways to attract young people back to agriculture and importantly, do away with the negative image of farming that young rural people carry around,” he said.
“It is up to the farming sector, with the help of government, to dispel this inaccurate negative image and we believe young rural Victorians will only return to the farming sector if informed about its bright future.”
The Committee has recommended that the industry take responsibility to ensure school’s career advisers have a good understanding of careers in farming and work with the State Government to ensure students have access to first-hand work experience and school-based apprenticeships.
The importance of discussing succession planning was also highlighted in the Inquiry and the Committee recommends benefits can be gained from giving young people a stake in the financial future of farms.
The successful farmers the Committee heard from – most of them young farmers – were all defined by their impressive scientific knowledge and reliance on modern technology.
“The rapid evolution of modern farming is opening up new opportunities for young people,” he said.
“Western Victoria has a strong reliance on the agricultural sector and modern agriculture demands highly skilled operators with skills in the latest technology, a high standard of scientific knowledge, experience with large financial dealings and dealing with everything the weather throws at us. The rewards are there if you’re keen and you work hard,” Mr Delahunty said.