The chance to chat over a tasty lamb shank dinner at the recent Northern SALRC YouthAg Chat event held in Armidale on 10th May 2022 delivered some enlightening conversation.  A ‘speed chat’ session had everyone rotating quickly, answering some pointed questions on agriculture, livestock and people. 

The Northern NSW SALRC Regional Committee embraced the opportunity to chat with youth in the livestock industry. Some were producers or in agribusiness, some were students, whilst others were embarking on their research career with enthusiasm.  Armidale is a hub for those wishing to start, or progress, their livestock industry career with the University of New England, NSW Department of Primary Industries, CSIRO, Agtech businesses, agribusinesses and livestock producers at the regional city’s doorstep.

Participants were asked to share their views from a selection of questions. What would make your job easier? Access to daycare and labour. What would make you do something different on farm? On-farm demonstration of practical technologies. What would help people in the livestock industry? Support young farmers into the industry through access to land and training.

These were just some of the insights from a few of the topics discussed.

Most poignant were insights into what people fear over the next five years. Biosecurity risks together with global perception of the livestock industry’s sustainability and animal welfare practices, leading to market and policy intervention, were at the top of the list.

Most enlightening of all was advice to the role of SALRC.  Most who attended the YouthAg Chat session did not know what SALRC was, or its role. But this didn’t stop the suggestions. From being proactive in progressing ideas into R&D and on-farm practices, the need for a central library for access to R&D information and networks, and simply increasing the awareness of SALRC online were encouraged.

And as youth are our future, we also asked what their greatest hope was for implementing R&D into practical on-farm solutions. Genetics, livestock nutrition, animal resilience such as heat stress, managing internal parasite (worms), GPS tracking for theft and wild dog attacks, improving use of individual animal ID and data for management decisions, and solutions for reducing methane emissions were their thoughts.

We enjoyed taking the opportunity to network with young, aspiring members of the livestock industry from students, agribusiness, producers and researchers. We thank the support of the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, and funding sourced through the federal government’s National Landcare Program. We would highly recommend other SALRC regions taking the time to engage with youth in their local livestock industry.

Click below for a full summary of the ideas discussed at the YouthAg Chat session.

Article and notes written by Northern NSW SALRC Regional Chair, Christine White.

This event was supported by Meat and Livestock Australia, NSW Local Land Services and the National Landcare Program.