AgTalks and Ag Youth Think Tank



AgTalks is a live panel discussion sponsored by the Australian Government featuring agricultural–sector leaders and experts. It is part of the government’s continued engagement with industries, communities and consumers on agricultural issues.

Two AgTalks have been held. Most recently, AgTalks was hosted at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW on Wednesday 8 May 2013. This AgTalks addressed youth involvement and retention in agriculture. The discussion topic ‘It’s trendy to know about food – so why doesn’t anyone want to grow it?’ involved speakers who work in the agricultural industry, rural communities, academia and students studying agriculture, including:

  • Alexandra Gartmann – CEO, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
  • Professor Iain Young – UNE Head of School, Environmental and Rural Sciences
  • Charlie Blomfield – MD and CEO, Agricultural Management Company
  • Felicity McLeod – Royal Agricultural Society Rural Achiever
  • Jo Newton – Chair, Farming Futures Project

The discussion was recorded and broadcast on the ABC Radio National’s Bush Telegraph program on Thursday 16 May.

This event followed the first AgTalks held in Melbourne on Thursday 22 November 2012 and broadcast on Monday 26 November 2012. The discussion topic ‘Australians don’t care where their food comes from, as long as it’s cheap and looks good’ involved the following representatives:

  • Judith Damiani: CEO, Citrus Australia
  • Jane Adams: National Representative, Farmers’ Markets Association
  • Dougal Gordon: CEO, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association
  • Steve Spencer: Director, Fresh Logic
  • John Durkan: Merchandise Director, Coles
  • Dr. Andrew Monk: Director, Biological Farmers of Australia

To download and listen to the discussions go to the ABC’s Bush Telegraph website. You can follow the discussions held during the AgTalks on Twitter using the hashtag #AgTalks.

Ag Youth Think Tank

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry brought together 30 young Australians with an interest or experience in agriculture to explore ideas aimed at encouraging more young Australians to become involved in this industry.

The Think Tank helped raise awareness and celebrate the range of career opportunities available to young people in agriculture. Participants also developed ideas and strategies to attract and retain more young people working in the industry.

Attendees were drawn from youth-targeted programs that had been funded by the department including previous entrants in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Heywire rural and regional youth initiative.

Aged from 18-35 years, the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences meant the views and opinions shared were realistic and practical. For more information about the participants read their biographies.

The Ag Youth Think Tank concluded with participants presenting their strategies to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Parliamentary Secretary, key stakeholders and senior public servants.

You can follow the discussions held during the Think Tank on Twitter using #AgYouthTT and related media releases.

A link to the Ag Youth Think Tank presentations DVD is available on the DAFF YouTube channel.