Peak farm lobby group gears-up for National Agriculture Day

Choose your 'AgVenture' this week

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PROMOTING AG: Fiona Simson says the NFF is marking National Australia Day with an online campaign called "Choose Your AgVenture"

PROMOTING AG: Fiona Simson says the NFF is marking National Australia Day with an online campaign called "Choose Your AgVenture"

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COMMENT: Get on board and share your ag story on NFF's Agriculture Day platform.

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This Friday, the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) will lead the country in celebrating Australia's fifth annual National Agriculture Day (AgDay).

This is a day to recognise the contribution of agriculture to our nation's fabric and, importantly, to better connect city-based Australians with where their food and fibre comes from - and the people behind it's production.

I am so proud that, from its humble beginnings in 2017, AgDay has taken on a life of its own.

It is embraced and celebrated by politicians, chefs, sporting stars, TV personalities and - of course - farmers and regional communities.

In 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison led tributes to Australian agriculture.

He was joined on social media by the Wallabies, National Rugby League stars, chef Matt Moran, former Olympian Giaan Ronney and many more.

This year, similar to 2020, NFF's in-person AgDay celebrations are limited.

Instead, the NFF has turned its attention to marking the day online through the theme "Choose Your AgVenture".

The #AgVenture theme focuses on the many and varied jobs and careers along the food and fibre supply chain - from mustering in the top end, to breeding new wheat varieties in an inner city laboratory.

I always say that, no matter what your interest, your skillset or your location, there is an opportunity for you somewhere in our wonderful agriculture industry.

Despite the opportunities, agriculture's growth continues to be constrained by a lack of new entrants.

The shortages in the horticulture sector are much talked about and have become particularly critical with COVID-19 restrictions.

But the shortages are 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.

It is a problem that, as an industry, we have to address with urgency and focus.

I see it as a challenge that each individual can contribute to solving, by creating an awareness among young Australians of the pathways on offer.

The NFF has a goal to increase agriculture's workforce by 25 per cent by the year 2030.

To assist with this, in the lead up to National AgDay, the NFF hosted an online AgVenture Careers Expo for high school students.

This showcased the stories of nine Australians pursuing very different careers in agriculture.

One was 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.

Another was Sarah Packer, who is Australia's first female stud stock agent and - before that - was driving road trains.

From the saleyards to the office, the Expo inspired young Australians through the stories of ag-app developers Elena Yao and Stacey Hogan, who have applied their love of technology to solutions for farmers - such as with National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) wands.

And there was Queensland chopper pilot John Nicholas.

Recordings of the AgVenture Careers Expo session are available at www.agday.org.au

It is important to sow the seeds of thought about a pathway in agriculture from an early age.

The "Farmer Time" initiative, hosted by the Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia, is doing just that.

It will be beaming farmers "live" into the classrooms of primary school students across the country in the week leading up to AgDay.

This National Ag Day - on Friday November 19 - I urge anyone contributing to agriculture, whether it's in the dairy, orchard, packing shed or the agribusiness department of a big bank, to share their #AgVenture on social media. Be sure to tag #AgDayAU

Find out more about National Agriculture Day at: www.agday.org.au

- Fiona Simson is the National Farmers' Federation president and a Liverpool Plains farmer.

The story Peak farm lobby group gears-up for National Agriculture Day first appeared on Stock & Land.

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