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THE National Farmers’ Federation wants to know if grain growers need workers, and how they source their labour.
The NFF last week launched the 2020 edition of its annual Farm Workforce Survey and is calling for farmers across all sectors to complete an online questionairre.
In order to help farmers better understand and prepare for the impact of COVID-19 on the farm labour workforce, the survey focuses specifically on determining where the demand for workers is highest and how those workers are typically sourced.
The NFF said the outcome of this will be a more sophisticated and efficient response to workforce demands over the next 12 months and a more effective targeting of measures to help farmers maintain worker numbers and productivity.
NFF chief executive Tony Mahar said COVID-19 was having an impact on farmers and the availability of farm workers – particularly in areas where demand is already high.
“We are aware that our horticulture sector, in particular, is facing worse-than-usual labour shortages as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“As a result, we are in the process of assessing the impact of COVID-19 and border closures on the farm labour force but we do expect that as restrictions continue to ease, backpackers will return to the hospitality sector,” Mr Mahar said.
The survey aims to collect evidence that will specifically indicate the scale and locality of demand for workers on a month-by-month basis over the coming year.
“We want farmers input on this issue and are asking them to think about the impact this could have on their farm business and to start planning now. By filling out this survey, they will help us develop effective solutions to present to government,” Mr Mahar said.
The survey only takes five minutes to complete but will be crucial in shaping the NFF’s policies and advice to Government in how best to meet the need for workers across the country.
The NFF has a vision for agriculture to reach $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030 and securing a sustainable and stable workforce that ensures access to both skilled and non-skilled labour is crucial.
“To achieve our ambitious goal of growing Australian agriculture to a $100 billion industry by 2030, we must respond swiftly to the challenges facing agriculture, especially during these uncertain times,” Mr Mahar said.
“The survey will allow us to put solutions on the table meaning farmers can get on with the job and do what they do best.”
- The survey can be accessed here.