Agriculture: the land of opportunity

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 article from FFN Director Samantha Noon

Growing up in the bush is a privilege most of us treasure – and I was lucky enough to experience this unique childhood.

Playing on the banks of the Maranoa River near Dunkeld, Queensland where I went to school with just seven students – is a bizarre reality for our city friends. Yet these humble beginnings, I believe, only make a child more curious about the outside world, more independent and driven to succeed.

This appetite for adventure, and a sprawling bookshelf full of Nat Geo and a healthy dose of ‘girls can do anything’ attitude instilled from an early age by my mum, is what set me on a path to explore a mixture of industries, here on home soil and overseas, before returning to my passion: a career in agriculture.

The skills I’ve gathered along the way have inadvertently made my contribution to agriculture and journalism much more meaningful than I could have imagined. Yet, without a personal connection to agriculture or a bush upbringing, our industry can be daunting to outsiders considering a career in agriculture – and this is something we need to change.

Despite the turbulent 18 months our nation has endured, the agricultural industry has weathered the pandemic’s storm, very well. For the first time Australia’s farmgate value is tipped to reach a record breaking $73 billion, for the 2021-22 season, edging us that bit closer to our $100b target by 2030.

This year’s National Ag Day (19 November) celebrates the exciting and fulfilling career opportunities on offer in agriculture, which I can confidently say is humming right now.

Challenging Australians to consider the career opportunities in agriculture and to embark on an #AgVenture, seems like the perfect moment for us to re-evaluate how and who we attract to work in the industry to help build a more sustainable food system – and most importantly our commitment to decarbonisation.

Australia’s action plan – or lack thereof – to reach net zero by 2050 has been under intense scrutiny, since Morrison’s address at the Glasgow UN Climate Summit, dubbed a ‘failure’ by Greta Thunberg.

With no further short-term plans unveiled to limit fossil fuels in the next decade, it makes you wonder how on earth will Australia, reach our last-minute net zero pledge by 2050? The answer I keep hearing is technology and offsets. This reliance on low-emission technology ‘breakthroughs’ for carbon capture and storage is exciting but how we achieve this, is the challenge – and one we can’t do alone.

There is certainly a great deal of pressure placed upon agriculture and agritech innovation to decarbonise our nation – but it is without a doubt, a prime opportunity to embrace the expertise from outside our industry, to recruit new talent, and fresh minds with solutions and skillsets, which complement the incredible knowledge base and enthusiasm we already possess. So, ask yourself who do you know would love a career in agriculture and would love to help solve one of, if not our greatest challenge of all time? Now is their chance!