AgStart - helping young farmers
From the May 2006 edition of Agriculture Today.
Across the country, our agricultural industries are having difficulty attracting and retaining new young talent.
The NSW Government recognises that in order to address this problem we need to understand the barriers facing those who want to start a career in farming.
That’s why we established a working group made up of industry and government representatives to examine the barriers and create solutions.
The working group provided a much greater understanding of the real obstacles facing aspiring farmers.
These include scarce networks and links with existing equity holders, lack of information on the range of career paths available, difficulties understanding their financial risk profile, and workable strategies to improve this profile.
It has been with these issues in mind that the NSW Labor Government, with input from NSW Farmers’ Association, developed AgStart.
Agriculture is not a one-dimensional industry, therefore, the tools that help young people pursue a life on the land cannot be one-dimensional either.
That’s why AgStart offers a range of assistance measures including grants, career and financial management workshops, scholarships, mentoring programs, stamp duty refunds and help with farm finance.
We have also established an AgStart Board made up of industry experts who understand the barriers young people face and also appreciate the realities of what it takes to run a successful rural business.
The Board will help guide the range of measures that might help young individuals.
Another group of AgStart Partners will also help develop finance assistance options with the co-operation of banks, agribusinesses and other key players.
The NSW Government will commit $1 million to this program in the first year, with the AgStart Partners providing a platform to attract more funding through private contributions.
I am confident AgStart will give many young Australians the opportunities they need to start a successful career in agriculture.
2006 Royal Easter Show
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is always a wonderful opportunity to showcase the highlights of rural life and the many benefits of our agricultural industries.
This year I had the pleasure of officially launching a series of updated Ag Skills booklets.
Ag Skills publications were first introduced in the 1980s and have since been an invaluable source of information for farmers.
The AgSkills booklets cover industries such as beef, sheep, goats, horses, tractors and general farm skills.
Each booklet provides practical advice to help farmers improve their on-farm management and safety practices.
They also include diagrams, colour photos and worksheets to guide farmers through the range of topics.
AgSkills make an excellent resource for farmers, particularly young farmers just starting out or those wanting to make sure their skills are up to date.
They are part of the State Government’s ongoing effort to make sure today’s farmers have access to quality education resources that help them improve the management of their businesses.
AgSkills booklets can be bought from the NSW Department of Primary Industries by calling 1 800 025 520 or visiting www.tocal.com.