2017 Autumn - The changing agricultural workforce

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FPJ1401E - Burrow, T (2017), Agribusiness is a Cornerstone of Australia’s Future Prosperity

FPJ1401E - Burrow, T (2017), Agribusiness is a Cornerstone of Australia’s Future Prosperity, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, Autumn 2017, pp. 29-35, Surry Hills, Australia.

Australian agriculture is going through a period of rapid change. Agricultural output surged by an extraordinary 27.6% in 2016, following a record harvest in every state. Domestically drivers of change include greater consumer involvement, interest, and attachment to food and its production. Internationally, surging demand from middle-class consumers in developing nations is creating an unprecedented expansion of available opportunities. 
The growth potential of the agribusiness industry is creating industry optimism to open new markets, create jobs and develop new technologies. Today’s agribusinesses incorporate all types of exciting career paths, and increasingly attract more newcomers, more innovators. Engineering, science, IT, commerce and management are all cornerstone skill sets for successful businesses in this growing sector. Universities that struggled to fill agricultural science courses only a couple of years ago are seeing a strong resurgence in student numbers, often from students who do not have a farming or rural background.
Australia’s agribusiness sector is rushing to recruit a new generation of tech-savvy graduates as the sector swaps its dusty image for a future of drones, robots and automated sensors. Even entry-level jobs now have higher skills requirements as the distance between paddock and plate is shortened. While the A$4 billion agriculture technology industry is still in its infancy, Australia is among the world’s leaders in robotics in the agribusiness sector. 

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