FFN Opinion: Opportunities to Drive the Future of Australian Agriculture

Future Farmers Network directors regularly give their opinion on the latest news, events and issues in agriculture for an article for Australian Community Media. Here’s the most recent yarn from FFN Director Tim Flynn.

Ongoing Drought, Bushfires and now COVID-19 have a lot of people asking what is next for Rural Australians? The answer is simple – OPPORTUNITY.

If you sift through the mainstream media to find the positive articles around COVID-19 you will notice a common theme. That theme is the strong State and Federal Government push for a “Bush Led Recovery”.

It would be remiss of us not to consider the residual trauma and battles of people in the bush after years of facing devastating drought and bushfires, with many areas still in a recovery phase and a small percentage still drought declared, and we must also consider that many rural businesses are still struggling with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. This recognition of the past is important, though let’s consider all the indicators the time for a rural renaissance is now!

Increased appreciation for farmers – Nothing like a pandemic and food shortages, to make you think about where your food comes from and how it is produced. An increasing desire for top quality fresh Australian grown produce, not only from local consumers, but globally.

Ability to keep your current job - The increased ability to work from home, combines a fresh opportunity for professionals to juggle their career opportunities with regional life.

Plenty of good jobs - Between 3500- 5000 jobs available just for the 2020 winter crop harvest.

You won’t be alone - Almost one third of young Sydneysiders would consider moving to the bush within the next three years. Research by Newgate Communications found that 30 percent of Sydneysiders aged 18-34 are willing to make the move to regional NSW within three years,

If you combine all this with the external optimism of young people in agriculture, then you have all the ingredients you need for a perfectly cooked “Bush Lead Recovery”. Young People especially have a real opportunity to establish their lives and careers in agriculture in rural and regional areas.

There has never been a better time to book your seat on the bus driving the Bush Led Recovery, so think about those opportunities, keep your eyes peeled and when one presents itself grab it with both recently sanitised hands.