What future for Australia’s family farm?

An expert panel that includes a Charles Sturt University (CSU) specialist in agricultural extension and training will discuss the future of family farming at a public forum to be held in Wagga Wagga on Wednesday June 20.

Titled “Has the Family Farm a Future?” panellists will provide an opportunity for family farmers to come together and share their views about the future of their family farm.

The panel will feature Riverina farmers Mr Rob Hart and Mr David Nash; Director of Boyce Accountants, Ms Linda Mackellar; CSU agriculture lecturer, Dr Alison Southwell; Commins Hendriks Director and specialist in succession planning, Mr Bill Thompson; and a representative from AgriFood Skills Australia. The forum will be hosted by ABC Riverina’s Ms Anne Delaney.

CSU history and politics lecturer and the event’s co-organiser, Dr Troy Whitford, said that with 90 per cent of Australian farms owned and operated by families, it was of national importance to keep the next generation of farmers on the land.

“At present many of our young people are leaving the farm in pursuit of more lucrative employment, particularly in mining,” Dr Whitford said.

“We hope this forum will highlight the need to assist family farms maintain their business.”

The event is part of the national Australian Year of the Farmer program, which aims at raising awareness on farming life and its importance to food security and economic growth.

“According to the National Farmers Federation, each Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people 450 of which live overseas,” Dr Whitford said.

“Addressing the future of family farming has direct implications for national and international food security.”

The forum will start at 7pm on June 20 at the Wagga Wagga RSL Club, Dobbs Street, Wagga Wagga.

The forum is sponsored by AgriFood Skills Australia and Commins Hendriks Solicitors.

Light refreshments will be available after the meeting.

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