Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford has announced the launch of a new program to support the next generation of farmers with scholarships of up to $10,000 for training, study, professional development and on-farm investment.
Ms Pulford said the Young Farmer Scholarships Program will help young farmers and farm workers grow their skills and invest in new technologies and business practices, ensuring Victoria’s agriculture sector develops the talent of tomorrow.
Speaking at the Victorian Farmers Federation Annual Conference on Friday, the Minister said that applications for the new program were now open.
“Over the next four years, 10-15 young farmers and farm workers each year will receive up to $5000 for training or study, backed by further funds to invest on-farm or in professional development, putting new skills into practice,” Ms Pulford said.
“Food and fibre are the future of our economy and building a competitive and skilled agriculture workforce is critical to growing and protecting this vital $11 billion sector.”
The Minister also said that formal expressions of interest for the Labor Government’s new Young Farmer Ministerial Advisory Council were now open and urged young people with an interest in farming and agriculture to apply for a position on the Council.
“The Council will identify issues affecting agriculture and advise the Minister for Agriculture on opportunities for attracting youth to the sector. It will include a representative from each of the Victorian Farmers Federation Young Agribusiness Professionals and Victorian Young Farmers groups,” the Minister added.
“Attracting the next generation of farmers to a life on the land is crucial to meeting the growing demand from Asia for high quality, safe produce and improving access to new markets. To take full advantage of these opportunities, Australian farmers will need to develop increasingly sophisticated skills in areas such as business and financial literacy, risk management, and product development.”
Expressions of interest for nine motivated council members opened last Friday and will close on 19 July, with at least 50% of council members to be women, in line with the Labor Government’s commitment to ensure gender equality on all paid government boards.
For more detailed info, go to http://www.vic.gov.au/youngfarmers