MORE young people are being attracted to a life in agricultural related industries, according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Sciences (ABARES).
The figures show the proportion of under 35-year-olds working in agriculture had risen to 24 per cent and of those young people, 30pc were women.
The Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa said the future of the industry was bright, with the statistics revealing a positive trend, reflecting the progressive direction it was taking.
“Agriculture has historically been a male-dominated industry, but these statistics prove things are changing,” Mr de Grussa said.
“The report identifies an emerging trend of an increasing proportion of women and young people working in agriculture and demonstrates how the agricultural workforce is evolving.”
The report also found that 11pc of the agricultural workforce was from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, there were more than 87,000 farming families, 82pc of the agricultural workforce lived in regional areas and 73pc of the workforce were employed full-time.
- Lots to like about lupins
- Alice Mabin bridges country-city divide by sharing stories from region's growers
Mr de Grussa said the report and statistics provided government and industry with the information to help them prepare for a skilled and sustainable workforce.
“My role as a representative of regional WA is to help foster and promote a strong and vibrant agricultural industry,” Mr de Grussa said.
“This data provides evidence of an exciting and productive future for our wonderful agricultural sector.”
WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the figures reflected what was being seen on the ground: “more women taking a leading role on the farm and more young people being inspired by agriculture”.
“Women have always been the cornerstone of rural WA and now rural women are stepping up to become the real drivers of change in our regional communities and in the agricultural industries,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“The rise in young people involved in agriculture is a positive sign for the future of the industry.
“WA producers are facing challenges in the drying climate and increased international competition and we need the energy and enthusiasm of the generation of digital natives focused on driving the best outcomes for agriculture.”
WAFarmers acting chief executive officer Trevor Whittington said the hidden story in the latest statistics was the diversity of high-paying technical and science based jobs that were attracting young men and women to the industry.
“From animal production scientists to electronic technicians capable of fixing today’s farm machinery, agriculture is attracting a diverse range of people into exciting new careers.”