Agriculture Victoria – Young Farmers

Agriculture Victoria – Young Farmers

Victorian Agriculture is worth $13.1 billion,
with our food and fibre exports valued at $11.9 billion. That’s 26 per cent of Australia’s total food
and fibre exports – making Victoria, Australia’s largest state exporter. The future of the sector is our young farmers. Who are the young farmers? Let’s take a closer look. Overall, young farmers are very busy with
family and kids and other work off the farm. Many work on large scale farms, and most young
farmers are tertiary educated. Most importantly, they enjoy farming. However, the number of young farmers in Australia
is declining. The average age of farmers is now 53. Only 13 per cent of Victorian farmers are
under 35. Farming is becoming increasingly complex. These days, young farmers need a broad range
of skills so they can adopt sophisticated business models, embrace new technologies,
and respond to an increasingly volatile climate. The Victoria Government is committed to helping
young farmers build rewarding agricultural careers. Two initiatives include:
The Young Farmers Ministerial Advisory Council which gives young farmers a strong voice by
bringing together 11 passionate young professionals to advise government about practical actions
and opportunities to attract and retain young people in agriculture; and
The Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarship program. The Young Farmers Scholarship provides up
to $10,000 for young farmers aged 35 and under to Upskill and Invest in their careers. Since the launch of the program in 2015, a
total of 25 young farmers have been awarded scholarships. Thomas Batters (Upskill and Invest Young Farmers
Scholarship Recipient) Tom: It really opened up a door for me to
sort of get involved in something. Dad is not great with technology, but if Dad
can see the benefit of it then it gives me that sort of allows me to have input into
the decision making on the farm, which is great. Caitlin Sauro (Upskill and Invest Young Farmers
Scholarship Recipient) Caitlin: So, personally, it furthered my skill
in the management side of the farm understand finances, managing risk; that kind of factors
of the farm. Also as I’m a school teacher, and I teach
agriculture and horticulture, it allowed me to further my skill as a teacher and whatever
I learnt from the course I was able to distill it down to the students as well. Harrison Brown (Upskill and Invest Young Farmers
Scholarship Recipient) Harrison: Part of this scholarship was to
come up with an investment that could be utilised and that would fit in well with the farming
business. Ian Brown (Harrison’s father)
Ian: I suppose I’ve done everything around the farm and I’ve handballed it to him and
said Look mate, here’s an opportunity, you run with it and I’ll back you. Lauren Peterson (Upskill and Invest Young
Farmers Scholarship Recipient) Lauren: The award is not only given me the
education in terms of the knowledge and skills to help build upon the work of our business
but it is also given me the opportunity to have confidence and to reach out and ask questions,
to seek out more information, to seek other experiences and to meet people along the way
and that is been the biggest benefit of my studies. It is not just the actual foundation studies
that I learnt through my diploma but also the opportunities I’ve had since. Voice over: The Scholarships are helping young
farmers access exciting opportuni-ties and build rewarding agricultural careers. They are also a confidence booster for young
farmers and agricultural professionals. Lauren: It is pretty funny, anyone that knows
me before I moved to the country when they find out that I’m now dairy farming, they
can’t believe it and there’s some days that I think, oh what have I done. But this is my workplace now, and its beautiful,
its relaxing, its stressful, its challenging. It is really hard to articulate why we love
what we do. But we’re working as team, we’re developing
our own business, we’re working with amazing animals and contribute to such an amazing
industry that Australia has and that’s really rewarding. Voice over: For more information on Victorian
Government support for young farmers, visit the Agriculture Victoria Website
( Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1
Treasury Place Melbourne.

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