We hear all the time about the need for young people to be attracted into agriculture, and the difficulties, particularly in getting them interested in livestock. Just recently I have heard a number of people say that the high prices will get them in. “Look there is money in livestock. It’s the place to be”.
Firstly it is critical to understand that money isn’t everything with the younger generations coming through our ranks. Absolutely it is important, but it certainly isn’t everything. There is a threshold where money falls out of the equation, because that need is satisfied, and the conversation quickly turns to “bigger” things, like:
Autonomy – the ability to manage themselves and control their own destiny.
Mastery – the opportunity to be the best they can possibly be.
Purpose – being part of something bigger than themselves.
Also consider the fact that livestock pricing (lamb, mutton, wool, beef) across the board recently has been sitting close to the 99th percentile when compared to pricing of the past 15 years. So by the time a young person entering the industry has a chance to really earn money generated by livestock, which direction will prices have most likely moved???? Down. Hopefully not far, but nevertheless, down. So is price really that much of an incentive? It will help, but it isn’t the answer.
So take a moment to think about what influenced your decision to become involved in the industry? Was it as simple as “mum and dad did it, so I will too”? This week I have been forced to reflect on that again myself with the passing of my Grandmother. As a kid who grew up in town, my influence came from my grandparents on both sides of the family, and my Uncles, Aunties and Cousins who were all on dairy, sheep or cropping farms.
What was it that really got you hooked? For me it was bringing cows in for milking down in the Otways in pouring rain, washing out the dairy, losing your gumboot in the mud and waiting for someone to rescue you. At the age of 2 I had already made my decision. I would be a farmer (I didn’t know about consultants back then!). Later it would be my time rounding up sheep, helping pen-up at crutching, drenching ewes, and everything else in between on my other relatives’ properties.
To this day the smell of the bush in the Otways takes me immediately back to those times in an instant. Or perhaps it is those days with constant rain, but no wind. For some reason they take me there too. It’s interesting though, both my brothers did all the same things as me, and while they love the bush, they were never going to pursue agriculture. So what was the difference?
I wanted to be my grandfather. Grandpa Jackson was the most impressive per...
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