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Outlook 2011 maps out a future for farming

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The leaders of Australian agriculture say supporting the nation’s next generation of farmers is critical to the future of the nation’s agricultural sector.

This week they have been considering the future of farming in the final session of the Outlook 2011 conference, which is organised by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). Outlook is the sector’s key annual conference.

ABARES’ Deputy Executive Director Paul Morris said Outlook’s A future in farming session will also raise awareness about challenges facing young producers.

“This year’s Outlook has been examining critical issues facing the agricultural sector, particularly how the next generation of Australian producers can build upon the progress made in past decades,” Mr Morris said.

“This next generation of farmers will need to be more skilled in the areas of business, agriculture, environment and technology, if the sector is to going to meet the challenges of improving productivity and sustainability while remaining profitable in a changing economic and physical operating environment.”

Beginning at 3.30pm, A future in farming session will hear producers’ views about the emerging challenges and opportunities for agricultural commodities and industries. The session will feature a panel of leading producers, all of whom are either a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation or a Nuffield Scholar. Western Australian producer and Nuffield Scholar David Cussons will chair the interactive session.

"Travelling overseas with Nuffield has made me aware of the common challenges facing farmers around the world, such as increasing efficiency, caring for the environment and keeping up to date with the latest technology,” Mr Cussons said. “Australian farmers are as well positioned as any to take advantage of the opportunities in agriculture moving forward.”

The panel includes the chair of the Rural Industries Research and Development Council Daniela Stehlik, WA grain and sheep producer Robert Egerton–Warburton, southern NSW beef producer Lucinda Corrigan, northern NSW cotton and grain grower John Hamparsum, and NSW wine grape grower Liz Riley.

“These innovators will share their own unique perspectives, no doubt inspiring others in industry and informing those considering a career in the sector,” Mr Morris said. “As the closing session of Outlook 2011, it will provide an important link between the issues raised during the conference and what happens on the farm.”

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