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5 November, 2021

Rural Aid helps fill ag worker shortage

Charity Rural Aid’s platform Farm Army, where volunteers and workers apply for jobs that are listed by farmers needing a hand, has seen thousands of volunteers and workers find meaningful work since 2015.

For pumpkin growers, the mouse plague has had an extremely detrimental effect on their produce.

The site has recently undergone an upgrade, making it easier than ever to find workers.  

South East Queensland pumpkin grower Pauline has had several volunteers help on her property after a tough few years dealing with flood, drought, mouse plague, personal injury and COVID-19. 

“We couldn’t find any help. 

“We would normally employ people but with the mouse plague here, the mice were eating our pumpkins faster than we could get them picked. We tried to find local workers but we couldn’t get backpackers and nobody could take us up on the paid work. We found it really difficult,” she said.

“With the Farm Army, we have had someone who was able to come and help us pick. It was a life-saver.”

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the Farm Army is a valuable resource in the current climate.  

“The platform is great for filling other jobs too. Keep an eye out for truck driving work, farmhand jobs and caretaking and housesitting roles too. 

“More than ten thousand volunteers, job seekers and grey nomads are already part of the Farm Army and receive regular job updates,” Mr Warlters said.  

Retirees and Farm Army members Sandra and Peter Kearns have attended a number of jobs on properties across Australia through the Farm Army platform.  

“We were looking for something other than just being on the road and travelling on the road, we were looking for something meaningful, something rewarding,” Mr Kearns said.

“We’ve helped muster sheep, crutch sheep and we looked after farmer’s kids. We helped with schooling, baking and cooking,” Mrs Kearns said.  

The Farm Army is open to primary producers who are registered with Rural Aid. 

For more information, visit the Farm Army website.

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