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New image require for agriculture

Careers in agriculture are being ignored because of poor perceptions according to a new report.

November 20, 2012 4:07am

Victoria’s young people are shunning careers on the land and the community perception of agriculture needs an image makeover, a parliamentary report says.

Long drought, other natural disasters and negative perceptions of farming are leading to low student demand for agriculture education and training, a report tabled in parliament last week found.

The inquiry into agricultural education and training by parliament’s training and education committee recommends a revamp of agriculture to overcome its poor public image and to draw in more students.

The committee says while there is much to celebrate about Victoria’s agriculture sector, its contribution and achievements are not well recognised.

‘‘There are strong signs that Victoria will be able to capitalise on future global demand for agricultural products,’’ the report says.

‘‘(But) the period of drought, gloomy media coverage and the increasing urban-rural divide has resulted in negative perceptions about the agriculture sector becoming ingrained in the minds of many in the community, leading to fewer young people choosing to pursue a career in agriculture.

‘‘Agriculture is Victoria’s mining sector and needs to be promoted accordingly.’’

The report says the low demand for formal agricultural education is putting at risk the sector’s ability to meet future workforce demands.

The committee’s recommendations include promoting positive images of agriculture, improving awareness of agriculture careers and making agricultural education more prominent in schools.

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