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Agricultural sector has 'competitively young' workforce

8 September 2014

Australia's agricultural workers on the whole are younger than in many other parts of the world, even though there has been a fall in the number of people entering the industry.

This is according to a report from the Rural Industries R&D Corporation, which used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to assess how the country's farming population is made up.

The 'New entrants to Australian agricultural industries ??€“ where are all the young farmers?' discovered the number of farmers aged under 35 years has declined 75 per cent since 1976.

Analysis shows this is due to farm aggregation, which has meant there are not as many opportunities available for younger people who want to enter into farming.

Report Author Neil Barr, who is based at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, said there is also the problem of delayed entry into the workforce as people pursue tertiary qualifications.

"What sets farming apart from other occupations is the lowering rate of exit from farming amongst farmers aged over 65 - since 1991 the population of farmers aged over 65 has increased by 55 per cent," said Mr Barr.

"This decreases the proportional measure of farmers aged under 35 and is also an important contributor to the increasing median age of the farmer population."

However, study authors said there shouldn't be too much concern over ageing in the agricultural sector, as Australia has a younger farming population than every other country bar New Zealand.

The highest concentration of young farmers is generally found on large-scale sites, the report noted.

No matter what demographics your farming venture is made up of, make sure you take out farm insurance to cover your operations.

This can offer peace of mind, as well as protection against problems that could have the potential to cause problems across your entire business.

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