Elders attracts trainees

Elders invests in trainees


Local Business Feature
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Elders is a leading agribusiness and iconic brand throughout rural and regional Australia.

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Elders general manager northern Australia Greg Dunne says training is key.

Elders general manager northern Australia Greg Dunne says training is key.

We’re focused on providing solutions for our customers that meet the needs of their businesses, from agricultural inputs, livestock, wool and real estate to agri-finance and insurance.

What sets your company apart from others in the industry?

Elders supports our clients to drive better efficiencies, productivity and profitability for their businesses through innovative products, digital services and a strong national network. We tailor agronomy and animal production solutions and we also offer quality assurance packages in cropping, including mapping, production history and reporting, which clients can provide to purchasers.

Recently, Elders created the Thomas Elder Institute, a research and development arm that will see us partner with universities across Australia to leverage research, technologies and agronomic tools to result in data-driven decisions and therefore the best possible outcomes for our clients and their businesses.

How can Australia grow its agriculture sector?

The Australian agriculture sector is constantly developing and if we continue to invest in technology and innovation we will grow our national productivity. Export markets for Australia are a major opportunity for growth. Access to export markets, combined with free trade agreements will enable Australian producers to market their quality produce on an international scale.

What have been the game-changers in the agricultural industry in recent years?

  • Satellite data mapping and production information combined with on ground data on which to base decisions.
  • Improved seed genetics whether it be grains, cotton or vegetables meaning greater productivity. Significant increase in production capability in the past 20 years.
  • The increase in land values and the interest in real estate in rural Australia particularly from overseas.
  • Water requirements and availability.

What are the major economic challenges in rural and regional areas, and how can they be overcome?

It can be difficult to source skilled labour to farms and it is likely to become an increasing challenge as agriculture competes with the mining industry, especially during growth phases of the mining industry. The cost of labour also remains one of the biggest costs in an agricultural enterprise. Another challenge for agriculture is lowering the cost of production per unit of output and improving efficiencies.

Businesses will need to attract and retain staff  to overcome a souring of a steady supply of labour. Continued research on new technologies can improve the productivity and the sustainability of agriculture. This will see the continued improvement in the cost of production for primary producers.

What are the major social challenges, and how can they be overcome?

Attracting and educating the next generation to agriculture to take up careers in the industry and in businesses like Elders. Encouraging people who grew up on the land to continue their career in agriculture and bring fresh, new ideas to the industry will also contribute to the success of rural and regional areas.  

This challenge can be overcome through providing training and education for the next generation. Elders offers national trainee programs in livestock and agronomy which provide career development, networks and opportunities. We’ve seen trainees progress to branch managers within five years and become experts in their field and local area. As new technologies are adopted and as efficiency and profitability grows, there will be an attraction back to agriculture whether it be farming enterprises or the businesses aligned with them.

What are the major health challenges, and how can they be tackled?

Mental health has a huge impact on both our personal and work life as well as that of our clients. With those in rural areas half as likely to access support services as those from metropolitan areas, it’s important to ensure that we bring this important topic to the table and support our work colleagues, clients and friends.

Elders established a partnership program with the North Queensland Cowboys to deliver a community program targeting mental health in our zone. The initiative has gained a huge amount of attention in the past year and we are proud to continue the program.

How can businesses attract young people back to rural and regional areas?

We believe agriculture has a positive outlook and with the continued research and investment in productivity gains its attractiveness as in industry will grow.

Training and development opportunities for the next generation will also be key.

Elders invests in heavily in our livestock and agronomy trainee programs with two national intakes per year.

if we continue to invest in technology and innovation we will grow our national productivity - GREG DUNNE

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