In 2011, only 13% of Australian farmers were aged 35 years or less. We often get asked why this is, so here are our 2 cents on the issue.
Young people see “better” opportunities in urban jobs
In Australia the main issue around succession planning is that many children of farmers do not want to enter the family business as they see it as stressful, labourious work or that they can earn more with a city job. For those who do decide to buy a property and business off their parents, often they will work with a bank to create an agreement and payment plan that suits both the parents and the children. Rabobank in Australia have also trialled a mediating service supporting families to find a middle ground.
Now, whether those perceptions of farming are fair is personal. Fortunately we get the pleasure of meeting young farmers who do love what they do. You can read about Erika of organic farm Epicurean Harvest, or Young Farmer of the Year, Anika Molesworth. Or you can hit up Future Farmers network for what they think.
Farming requires fewer and fewer people
The trend in Australia is that farms are merging and getting larger and technology is allowing for more automation. Both trends mean that farming in Australia requires less people. The bulk of roles in Australian agriculture are in agribusiness – the industries and business that supply to and support the functioning of the agricultural industry. Many agribusinesses are having issues securing young workers. An example of this demand is that for every 1 graduate of agriculture there are 6 or 7 positions to be filled. Ensuring that agriculture is an attractive profession to young people from both the city and the country is a priority across the industry, and for the Youth Food Movement as well.
Image credit: Julia Gove