The average age for farmers in Australia increased from less than 10 years ago, with the oldest workers living in New South Wales, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2015-16 Agricultural Census.
K-Line Ag and others involved in the field reminds that the data excludes the average age for a farm equipment supplier or distributor, as the statistics only focused on those that have been operating farms for 35 years and source 84% of their livelihood from agriculture.
In New South Wales, the average age for a male farmer reached 56 years and their female counterparts are also 56 years old. By contrast, the youngest male farmers live in Western Australia and South Australia with an average age of 55 years old.
The census listed female farmers live in Tasmania as the youngest in the industry at an average age of 52 years old. ABS based its data from a total of 85,681 farm businesses that span 371 million hectares and provide an average annual turnover of at least $40,000.
The ABS census also shed some light on the level of production for certain crops. Fruit and nut production significantly increased between 2015 and 2016. As of June 30 last year, olive harvest in Australian farms rose 55% to over 75,000 tonnes in the covered period compared to 2014-2015.
The trend has led to a mix of positive and negative outcomes. The surge in production caused an increase in employment and economic activity for several states. However, the robust growth of fruit and nut production elicited concerns on more trees needing water, amid dwindling resources and a likely shortage due to drought.
Farming remains an important part of Australia’s economy and supply chain, which is why the industry and government should work together in enticing young people to build a career in agriculture.