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A group of agricultural research and development organisations have launched People in Agriculture, a new website looking to become a key resource for employers and employees in agriculture, and encourage more people to work in the sector.

Developed by Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Pork, Food and Agribusiness Solutions, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, the website was officially launched by Barnaby Joyce this week.

The platform, which took 18 months and around $185,000 to develop, gives employers access to information around things like awards, agreements, and entitlements, professional development and training, and how to find and interview employees.

As well as answers to frequently asked questions, employees are provided with guides on issues such as safety in the workplace, how much they should be getting paid, and what they should be aware of if coming from overseas.

Users are able to access general industry information, or focus on either the cotton, dairy, grains, pork, or livestock industries.

Through providing this information, the site looks to address the fact that, while they are running businesses and must adhere to many of the same general regulations as other businesses, farmers usually don’t have access to HR experts and other similar resources.

Already a key sector of the Australian economy – agriculture is the largest employer in rural and regional communities, making up four percent of Australia’s total employment, while farms produce 93 percent of the nation’s domestic food supply and contribute nearly $42 billion of Australia’s export revenue – the agricultural sector has significant potential to grow further.

A report released earlier this year by startup advocacy body StartupAUS found the sector could grow into a $100 billion industry by 2030 if technology, or agtech, is embraced.

The report, ‘Powering Growth: realising the potential of agtech for Australia,’ aimed to uncover where the opportunities lie in agtech and how Australian farmers can use technology to improve productivity, management, and sustainability.

The report identified three key areas necessary for agtech to reach its full potential – capital, connectivity, and direction – and recommended the establishment of an independent fund to make agtech a more affordable industry, developing a marketplace for agtech products and a network of agtech hubs, and establishing a joint R&D fund with leading global agtech players and increasing funding for agtech-focused accelerator programs.

At the core, however, is the need to ensure the sector continues to attract talent, and it’s here that a resource such as People in Agriculture can become key.

Image source: Barnaby Joyce.

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