The National Farmers Federation has put the spotlight firmly on career opportunities in agriculture as the sector continues to struggle with critical worker shortages.
The NFF is preparing to lead the nation in celebrating the fifth annual National Agriculture Day tomorrow and have created a theme of 'Choose Your AgVenture' to mark the day.
"AgDay falls when so many young Australians are considering their futures, after school, after university or how they may fill in their summer holidays," NFF President Fiona Simson said.
"COVID-19 has also prompted Australians of all ages to consider their futures and to re-evaluate where they live and what they do for a living."
Ms Simson said worker shortages in the horticulture sector were much talked about and had become particularly critical with COVID-19 restrictions, but the shortages were not limited to seasonal on-farm work.
"Almost every agriculture-related employer I talk to, whether they are a farmer or the chief executive officer of a big agribusiness, is having difficulty finding the people they need for their business to be the best it can be," she said.
"It is a problem that, as an industry, we have to address with urgency and focussed."
Related reading: Stunning photos revealed ahead of AgDay
To assist with this, in the lead up to National AgDay, the NFF has hosted an online AgVenture Careers Expo for high school students, showcasing the stories of nine Australians pursuing very different careers in agriculture.
Australians like barley breeder Dr Hannah Robinson, who spends her days developing the barley varieties of the future, to provide growers with agronomic options and to make the best beer and other barley products.
Dr Robinson's pathway to barley breeding wasn't direct. As a high school graduate she was determined to be a lawyer and then her focus shifted to medicine, until a uni holiday job in a plant science laboratory, took her in a new direction.
In another session, students heard from Roma's Sarah Packer, Australia's first female stud stock agent, who before she was an agent, was driving road trains!
An ad in the local paper for a livestock agent changed Sarah life forever.
"I was told if I wanted the job I would have to be an auctioneer as well, so that was something big I had to learn quickly!
Today, Sarah is an award winning agent who is navigating a male-dominated field.
And, while she says she'd love to see more females take up the challenge of becoming an agent, she never feels like her gender has held her back.
Other Ag Day initiatives include the Farmer Time, hosted by Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia, which beams farmers live into the classrooms of primary school students across the country.
NFF are also hosting their annual AgDay photo competition which has $3000 in cash prizes up for grabs. Entries close at 5pm on November 19.
Visit www.agday.org.au to enter the photo competition to listen to recordings of the AgVenture Careers Expo.
Join Australian Community Media in celebrating AgDay on social media by using the hashtags #AgDayAU and #AgVenture.
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