A PROGRAM designed to future proof the Far North’s agricultural industries will continue after the State Government renewed its funding commitment.
The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network has largely been focused on getting young people interested in pursuing careers in the agricultural industries, with the assistance of the network’s Far North Queensland manager Leanne Kruss.
FNQ Growers chair Joe Moro said the funding commitment announced in the recent state budget, was an investment in the future of agriculture in the region.
“Leanne has been in the position for several years and has developed a results-driven program that works across all commodities including horticulture, sugar, livestock and broadacre cropping,” Mr Moro said.
“The programs are critical to help position our agricultural industries to handle the changes of modern farming, deal with an aging labour workforce and continue to help them capitalise on new opportunities.”
Ms Kruss said relationships and networks were crucial to the success of the program.
“Often it’s just sitting in a kitchen with farmers listening that makes all the difference to their ability to move forward positively in their business,” Ms Kruss said.
She said said much of her work was aimed at developing and delivering long-term, sustainable solutions for the region’s agricultural industries.
“Arming individual enterprises and growers with the tools and skills will help position them and industry to take full advantage of potential growth and ultimately lead to increased productivity,” Ms Kruss said.
Mr Moro said FNQ Growers was very supportive of the push to get young people to work in or establish themselves a career rural industries, which has been a particular focus of the work so far.
“Modern farming offers a myriad of career opportunities out of the paddock, including business, agronomy, engineering, marketing and IT,” Mr Moro said.
Ms Kruss partners with the Business Liaison Association to deliver the annual Agricultural Futures Award, which offers bursaries for Year 12 students wishing to pursue a career in agriculture. Applications close in September.
She is also working with CQUniversity and BLA to host the Innovation in Agriculture: STEM Careers bringing together local industry experts, farmers and STEM students.
The forum, which is being held on July 25 in Atherton, aims to arm students and the community with an understanding of the rapid growth in modern farming.