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Young farmer education vital for future of agricultural sector

Developing strong business and leadership skills in up-and-coming young farmers is vital to the future of Australian agriculture, according to Rabobank.

Neil Dobbin, group executive, rural banking for specialist agribusiness, said with overall farmer numbers contracting, the young primary producers of today will assume an increasingly influential role in shaping the fortunes of Australia’s agriculture in coming decades.

“While farmer numbers overall are declining, the role of today’s young farmers will be far more influential and they will control a proportionally larger component of agriculture into the future,” he said.

Speaking at the opening of applications for the annual Rabobank Farm Management Program, Dobbin said projections indicated that in less than a decade, young farmers who are currently aged between 25 and 35 will make up nearly 20% of Australia’s farming population.

“And, with the average size of farming operations growing, these farmers will be managing significantly larger, more innovative, efficient and ‘high-tech’ businesses,” he said.

Now in its fourth year, the FMP – which is tailored specifically for up-and-coming farm owners and managers – is the only course of its kind in Australia and New Zealand. This year it will be held from October 12 to 16, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Applications for the 2009 Farm Managers Program close on May 29, 2009. Places are limited with a maximum of 36 participants selected from across Australia and New Zealand from a broad cross-section of agricultural commodity sectors and geographical areas. For more information or an application form, contact Kate Steel, Business Programs Manager, on +612 8115 4139.

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