2017 Autumn - The changing agricultural workforce

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FPJ1401F - Collins et al. (2017), New Immigrants Critical to Australian Agriculture

FPJ1401F - Collins et al. (2017), New Immigrants Critical to Australian Agriculture, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, Autumn 2017, pp. 37-49, Surry Hills, Australia.

Australia is one of the most urbanised nations in the world today. While most immigration to Australia has been to the cities, since the turn of the century new visa pathways and policy initiatives have led to unprecedented numbers of permanent and temporary immigrants settling in rural and regional Australia. Many of these new immigrants in the Australian bush have worked in the agricultural sector of the economy helping to redress labour shortages and adding new skills and innovative insights to contribute greatly to increasing the productivity of the Australian agricultural industry.
This article draws on the findings of a recently-completed and published three-year RIRDC-funded research project into new immigrants and Australian agriculture. The article finds that immigrants are of increasing importance to the Australian agricultural sector and to regional and rural Australia in general. At the 2011 Census first and second generation immigrants comprised between 22% and 38% of the non-urban population of Australian states.
Skilled permanent immigrants add considerably to the productivity of Australian agriculture by filling skilled vacancies in the agricultural sector and bring their expertise from their pre-immigration employment experience. Immigrant farmers are increasing in numbers and significance, helping to redress problems of inter-generational succession increasingly experienced by non-immigrant farmer families. Immigrant farmers also increase productivity by bringing with them new technological insights gained overseas to apply to Australia farming.

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