National Agriculture Day 2021
Each year in November, Australia celebrates National Agriculture Day. It’s a chance to celebrate our farmers, and thank them for the work they do to keep the entire country fed. In this age of COVID, our farmers have managed to maintain a consistent supply of fresh fruit and veg, meat, dairy and grains despite severe workforce shortages and regular border closures. And this is on top of dealing with drought, natural disasters and increasingly wild weather due to climate change. What a bunch of legends.
Fast farming facts:
1. Farmers care for 51% of our nation’s landmass.
2. More than 90% of the food Australians eat is produced domestically.
3. Each Aussie farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people.
4. More than 99% of Australia’s agriculture businesses are wholly Australian owned.
5. From 1996 to 2016, agriculture reduced its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 63%.
6. Australia’s farm sector has an economy-wide target of net zero emissions by 2050.
7. Some agricultural industries, such as red meat, plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Agriculture smashing goals
An excellent season and booming commodity prices have seen our nation’s farmers defying broader COVID economic uncertainty. Nationally, the agricultural sector is looking at another record-breaking year, with the gross value of production forecast to reach $73 billion in 2021-22. Australia is also set for a second consecutive bumper winter harvest, with total production forecast to come in just shy of last year’s near-record crop.
In NSW alone, new data released by the state government on the eve of Ag Day has revealed that primary industries output has charged past all previous records and is now an estimated $20.9 billion industry. This means the agriculture industry increased its gross value of production by $5.2 billion in just 12 months. All while facing floods, a mouse plague, trade tensions with China, labour shortages and supply chain issues.
“It’s been a tough couple of years for all Australians, as we’ve battled natural disasters and the pandemic,” says Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud. “Despite the odds, the total value of farm production came in at $68 billion in 2020-21.
“This Ag Day, I want to thank our agriculture industries and the communities which rely on them for playing their part in ensuring our produce remains the envy of the world.”
Choose your own #AgVenture
This National Agriculture Day, the National Farmers’ Federation is challenging Australians to consider the career opportunities in agriculture and to embark on an #AgVenture. The industry is also encouraged to showcase the huge range of jobs on offer.
Today, the National Farmers’ Federation is also announcing AgCAREERSTART. This is a pilot 24-month program for school-leavers to try a gap-year job in agriculture and experience the unique opportunities the sector has to offer. Through AgCAREERSTART, participants will be employed under award wages on qualified farms for up to 12 months. They’ll also receive safety training and relocation assistance.
At the end of the gap year, participants will have access to ongoing support through an alumni network and career advice, as well as the potential of continuing employment and seasonal work opportunities. The program will also provide an opportunity to build skills and qualifications that young people can use in highly skilled roles in Australian agriculture. To find out more about being a gap-year participant or on-farm host, register here.
AUSVEG has also released a series of videos highlighting the diverse range of careers in the Australian horticulture industry. The series includes video interviews with employees from different fruit and vegetable industries across Australia to gain an understanding some of the behind-the-scenes but vital roles in the industry. These videos will show the daily tasks, responsibilities and pathways of current employees on Australian farms.
For more information on careers in agriculture, head to careerharvest.com.au.
From Google to a crocodile farm
At AgriFutures Australia, programs such as the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award and the AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship are supporting the people driving our future rural industries and communities and equipping them with the skills they need for the future.
AgriFutures Manager, Communications & Capacity Building, Angela Wakeman says the participants in these programs have diversified in the last 10 years.
“We have Horizon Scholars that have never stepped foot on a farm,” she says. “But they want to pursue a career in agriculture because they see that the industry is so versatile.
“The National Farmers’ Federation has laid down a bold vision for the industry to exceed $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030. In order to achieve this, we’re going to need to recruit people who have diverse skill sets.”
Hit the harvest trail
For those who just want to earn a little extra cash, harvest work can be a great opportunity to travel the country, earn an income and meet new people. It will also be helping our farmers, who continue to face severe labour shortages. There are thousands of jobs available across the country right now, and there’s even financial support under AgMove to help you relocate. Whether it’s grape harvesting in the Barossa Valley or mango picking in Darwin, there’s a huge variety of jobs available. These range in length from weeks to months. And no prior farm experience is necessary. To find out more about the harvest job opportunities currently available, head to harvesttrail.gov.au.