Address the skills gap to gain traction


New technology, changing business structures and new marketing channels are opening up a skills gap that could hurt Australia’s agricultural competitiveness according to a recent report published by Agricultural Appointments. Source: AFDJ eNews

Agricultural Appointments, Managing Director, Dr Ray Johnson, said the 2016 Agrifood Talent Report highlighted a trend toward niche production of differentiated products as well as the a new wave of digital technology, adoption of new business structures and innovative marketing by farmers.

“We are seeing a shift way from the traditional way of doing things to ways that require new skills and knowledge,” he said.

“Tomorrow’s farmer won’t just focus on driving the tractor, they’ll also be using technology such as UAVs and remote data capture, to choose production that’s most profitable, produce a speciality product and be acutely aware of consumer demands.”

In producing the report, Agricultural Appointments spoke with industry experts about emerging trends in the industry.

“There were clear themes that emerged. Everyone spoke of the advancement in digital technology, marketing, entrepreneurship, and consumer insights as the forces that will drive the industry forward,” Dr Johnson said.

The report also highlighted the impact new technology would have on the skills a business needs to be successful.

As the number of students graduating from agricultural science courses continues to decline, and those who do aren’t necessarily going on to work on farms, businesses will also need to develop new skills within the existing workforce.

They will need to run a skills audit to ensure they’re set up for the future.

“Employees will always be the greatest asset to a business, particularly as we move to smaller and highly skilled workforces,” Dr Johnson said.

This reinvention will require help to identify the skills gap, develop training programs and facilitate the development of existing staff.

With the right skills and business model the future of agriculture is bright in Australia.