Thursday, 28 March 2013

YAPs tackles image of agriculture

Convening at Victorian State Parliament yesterday, four young professionals shared their story and pathway into the industry.

While a number of issues were addressed, ranging from the need for mentors, employment practices and career pathways for young people, the key message to come from the day was centred on the need for a positive image overhaul, VFF vice president David Jochinke said.

VFF public affairs officer and co-founder of digital platform AgChatOZ Tom Whitty said that the industry needed to focus on connecting consumers to food and the science behind it.

"Instead of looking at agriculture and thinking of one defining image, we should try and connect agriculture to everything else,'' he said.

"Food can create an emotional connection for many people and this is where we can capitalise.

"As one commentator said on Tuesday night’s AgChatOZ discussion on this very issue, agriculture is science that you can eat, and there is nothing more awesome than that.''

Former VFF Young Agribusiness Professionals chair Prue Addlem spoke about the challenges she faced entering farming at a primary production level.

Prue said she was talked out of being a farmer from the beginning of her career because she was a woman - but that didn’t stop her.

Ms Addlem said that as a rural community, farmers need to lead from the front and be vocal.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Peter Walsh said government would no longer just talk about change, and instead facilitate it.

"As a government, we often do a lot of talking. But today and during this entire process its about listening to you, the industry and empowering you to be the facilitators of change,'' Mr Walsh said.

"We have identified clear problems with the image, perception and pathway towards careers in agriculture, and you are here to fix it. Lets achieve the deliverables.''

The Generation F campaign, launched in May 2012, looked at developing practical policies and strategies on how to attract - and keep - young people in agriculture, by running a series of events and forums that utilised the ideas and opinions of those currently in the food and fibre supply chain.

To register for the upcoming YAPs "Yoghurt grows on trees'' conference, visit yaps.vff.org.au
Original Article Here

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