Preparing for the next decade of disruption in agriculture

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A new agricultural revolution is underway, as we enter an era where advanced technologies are transforming the way operations will run in the future.

At the same time, the industry is facing a crisis as it prepares for a historic retirement wave, with fewer young people stepping in to fill the gap, according to a recently released report from RBC.

The report states that one in four Canadian farmers will be 65 or older by 2025. The average age of farmers today is 55, which means that over the next decade, 37 per cent of the agricultural workforce will be set to retire. Yet 600 fewer young people are entering the sector every year, which will have a significant impact on succession planning in the future.

“Agriculture is a dynamic industry with lots of potential for innovation and evolution, with new technologies shaping the future of the industry,” says Ryan Riese, national director, agriculture at RBC. “Policy-makers, industry leaders and educators have the opportunity to collaborate in attracting and preparing the next generation by creating early awareness around the exciting future of agriculture and modernizing education programs to help build new, digitally enabled skills that will be relevant in the future.”

Here are some actions that need to be taken:

  1. Start the integration of agriculture and learning early. Given that one-quarter of young farm operators entered the industry directly from high school, the earlier industry can integrate agricultural learning, the better. Beyond that, nearly three-quarters of farm operators under 40 attended college or university majored in business, health, education and technology – all invaluable skills that can be integrated into agricultural programming.
  2. Design education programs to build critical skills for the future. Post-secondary education is now stepping up to the plate, developing programs that expose students to the new knowledge and skillsets they will need in the future. These include digital skills, science and environmental studies, business, economics and global affairs to be successful in a rapidly evolving and globalized world. Introducing a more scientific and experiential learning approach has already generated an increase in enrolment in agriculture programs.
  3. Showcase the evolution and innovation potential of the sector. Younger-generation farmers are drawn to innovation and the part they can play in creating and sustaining that change. New generation farmers are also interested in new and creative investment and financing solutions, agricultural methodologies and sustainable practices that are tailored to their needs and align with their own personal and business values. Creating awareness around the new opportunities and exciting changes facing the industry can help spur young people’s interest in agriculture.

Find more information at rbc.com/agriculture.

Source – www.newscanada.com

 

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