Broadacre Workforce

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Broadacre Workforce

 Policy (Endorsed June 2020)

  1. Encouraging people into careers in broadacre agriculture will not only improve output for agribusinesses but will also provide stable, rewarding careers for workers and help strengthen regional and rural communities
  2. AgForce is committed to tackling the issues of attracting and retaining workers to broadacre agriculture through:
    1. promotion of the industry as a desirable career choice in schools and wider society
    2. ensuring the availability of up-to-date, industry approved training
    3. working with government in their efforts to understand and address ag workforce issues; and
    4. assisting employers to understand their responsibilities and their opportunities to foster retention.

Agriculture is a rewarding industry with a diversity of career options for workers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels.



Many broadacre agribusiness employers are experiencing a shortage in workers and difficulties with retention. This shortage is exacerbated by skills gaps created by a reduced number of training organisations offering agricultural training, as well as a lack of understanding of agricultural career paths among workers and students with high-level technical training such as management, business, IT, and science that are sought after in broadacre agriculture. 



60% of agricultural employers in Queensland report difficulties with workforce shortages [1].  Pre-COVID-19 job forecasts anticipated significant agricultural workforce disruptions in the near future; there is currently no understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on workforce availability for broadacre agriculture.  

Further, there is not as much available data on workforce issues for broadacre agriculture as there is for other agricultural industries such as horticulture.  However, some issues do stand out: the effects of depopulation of rural and regional Queensland; issues with retention; a lack of understanding of the job opportunities in agriculture; and a requirement for skilled employees creating vacancies that cannot always be filled with unskilled migrants.  Additionally,  many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) find it increasingly difficult to remain economically viable in regional areas, leading to a reduction in organisations offering fit-for-purpose agricultural training units, creating a skills gap [1]. Moreover, innovations in agriculture over the past 20 years mean employers now require a wider range of skills not previously associated with agriculture, and the training needs of broadacre agriculture, in particular, have moved beyond many of the traditional skills.   


[1] Babacan H., Dale A., and McHugh J., 2019, “Queensland Rural/Regional Workforce Policy Analysis”, Rural Economies Centre of Excellence,, accessed 5th February 2020.

Broadacre Workforce

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