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Livestock has many career opportunities

September 26, 2019

Highlighting the opportunities available in the livestock industry to jobseekers and young people deciding their future career paths remains critically important to ensuring the future of the sector.

In 2016-2017, the agri-food sector was the number one contributor to the SA economy, injecting $20 billion into the state and employing one in five South Australians. Nationally this figure rises even higher, with about 200,000 people employed in the red meat industry, according to 2017 Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020 statistics.

The past few years have also cemented the value of the livestock industry to the state’s economy, with the sector generating $3.24b in revenue in 2017-18.

The same year, SA’s gross food and wine revenue totalled $20.3b.

These values highlight the growing opportunities the sector provides for jobseekers. They also outline the critical importance of being able to employ and retain bright and talented people in existing and emerging roles.

In SA we have the SA sheep and beef industry blueprints which align with the National Farmers’ Federation’s target to grow agriculture to a $100b industry by 2030.

The blueprints provide an outline and strategic goals for industry, which also help to promote growth in employment and training opportunities.

This ensures a sustained growth in employees within the sector, helping to retain and attract new staff.

The agtech sector is an emerging industry within the livestock sector and will provide even more exciting career pathways.

The announcement of Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone’s new AgTech Advisory Group will continue to build opportunities and growth in this sector within the state.

It is particularly exciting to have Livestock SA vice-president Penny Schulz as one of nine members of this group, which will help to encourage greater adoption of agtech solutions on-farm and throughout the livestock value chain.

The livestock sector re- quires employees with modern thinking and access to modern technology in order to thrive. There are great opportunities to use technology, whether through a computer-based or electronic-focused role, through to animal husbandry, science, economics, finance, law and more.

It is equally as important to recognise there are many paths urban and rural students can take, from taking up a trade to an academic pathway. Not everyone enjoys working in front of a computer and there are certainly many practical, hands- on roles available.

Alternatively, there is an abundance of careers in building apps, providing communication solutions or working in animal science.

Sustainability, carbon neutrality and animal welfare also play increasingly important roles in the industry and offer increased opportunities for employment today and in the future.

In terms of retention, it is also important that employers provide training opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge of employees. Livestock SA has worked strongly with industry to roll out workshops and training, with the Pastoral Workers course led by the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, and rolled out through tafeSA with the sup- port of Livestock SA – one of the most recent new training opportunities.