Quality rural staff getting hard to find


WORKFORCE shortages could cost rural industry dearly, according to peak agricultural body AgForce.

AgForce president Larry Acton said agricultural industries had trouble sourcing and keeping staff.

"It's hard to find good quality staff that will stay and continue on to senior levels," Mr Acton said. Workhorse Recruitment's Susan Frost, said many industries like pork, equine and poultry had employment problems. "We're finding it's getting worse to find well-trained, qualified people," she said.

Ms Frost said there was a need for more practical training to turn out job-ready young people.

Excel Agriculture's Dan Ryan said the company employed about 80 people at its Toowoomba factory with six apprentices, including two mature-aged, at the moment.

While the company hopes to expand, it is dependent on their ability to find more staff.

"Most of the guys we have, have been with us for a very long time, but there's only so much work they can get through ? so to grow we need to train more," Mr Ryan said.

He said the shortage was not only the result of expansion within agriculture but within other industries across the board.

Mr Ryan said this combined with a push toward university rather than skills-based training in recent times had also affected numbers, despite the fact wages had increased because of the demand to find staff.

Dalby cotton farmer Ian Walton said there was a shortage of young people taking up agricultural careers and in some cases, it was their families that discouraged them.

"If they could see that farming is a profitable industry and they didn't have to work seven days a week, then maybe they'd come back," he said.

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