Farmers are getting younger

By Country News

Australia’s agricultural workforce is growing and getting younger, according to the latest Insights snapshot released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Sciences.

ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the proportion of under 35-year-olds working in agriculture was on the rise.

‘‘While those working in agriculture are older on average than the general workforce, the proportion of under 35-year-olds has risen over the past five years to 24 per cent in 2016,’’ Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

‘‘Of those young people 30 per cent are women, up two per cent from 2011.

‘‘Around 11 per cent of the agricultural workforce is from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, one per cent were indigenous and 30 per cent were women in 2016.

‘‘More people are also entering the agricultural industry with numbers rising four per cent between 2011 and 2016, with 82 per cent of them living outside of capital cities.’’

The share of women is up slightly, accounting for 32 per cent of the workforce.

Women are more likely to be managers, and traditionally provide the lion’s share of off-farm income, according to the research.

‘‘The contribution that 87525 farm families make to Australian agriculture is very important,’’ Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

‘‘The snapshot showed that in 2016, 18 per cent of the agricultural workforce was a contributing family member, compared to one per cent in the general Australian workforce.

‘‘The snapshot also identified an emerging trend of an increasing proportion of women and young people working in agriculture attaining non-school certificate level or higher qualifications, with the proportion rising by seven per cent for women and five per cent for young people between 2011 and 2016.

‘‘These insights highlight the importance of understanding how our agricultural workforce is evolving, and being on the front foot to ensure we have the skilled and sustainable workforce needed for a growing and prosperous agricultural sector.’’