WE’VE been told for years that succession planning is one of the major issues confronting the agriculture sector, and it's absolutely correct.
With no clear pathway through the family business, young farmers are becoming increasingly disgruntled and walking away from agriculture, with the result that the industry loses valuable skills.
But it's not just the commercial sector reeling from a lack of planning on how to involve the next generation.
The agri-politics sector has a dreadful record when it comes to retaining young people throughout the system.
There have been many examples over the past decade when young and enthusiastic people have become involved in the representative space only to become burnt out and jaded, exiting the space.
The numbers far exceed the natural attrition rate than you would expect – so what is going wrong?
For starters it appears an unwillingness to hand over goes far beyond giving the young blokes the keys to the tractor.
Privately, many young leaders say they feel like any decisions they have made have been undermined by the old guard. This may not play out in the public sphere but there have been various attempted coups, mischievous use of party process and various other tactics used to stymie attempts at change.
It's fair enough to voice concerns regarding the direction of a group - experienced heads are critical in providing checks and balances and ensuring decisions are not made in haste, but a culture of discouraging change is pervasive in some grain lobby groups.
Some have a real inability to accept consensus decisions that don’t follow their own opinions, instead opting to take their bat and ball and go home, thus creating disunity within the impacted organisations.
There’s a lot of teeth gnashing about the inability to attract and retain a youthful presence in state farmer organisations.
Sure it's difficult to get people involved, but it would seem a bit of a no-brainer that if you want to hold onto people, you don’t go undermining any decisions they are elected to make.
As it is, the stocks of grain production lobby groups are at low levels, commanding very little clout because of the fractured nature of representation - lack of intergenerational respect is only going to dilute that influence any further.