OPINION: Showbag a winner

A man stood at the front of our stand in the Golden Grains Pavilion at the Royal Adelaide Show and insisted he shake my hand. Several other people told me it had made their day. I was even offered some Kangaroo Island Olives!

You may be thinking, what could we have possibly done to be offered such gratitude?

These people were recipients of Grain Producers SA’s free Great Grain Showbag and were almost flabbergasted to be receiving something for nothing. For many of them, it brought back memories of yesteryear when there were free sample bags at the Royal Adelaide Show.

With the Royal Adelaide Show all wrapped up for another year, the Great Grain Showbag will have made it into nearly 6,000 households.

The initiative had a two-fold effect. Not only were we using the Showbag to promote the importance of the grain industry in South Australia, but it was full of grain and ag career information and opportunities.

Too often you hear agricultural-related businesses complaining that they can’t get enough workers. Australia continues to bring in migrant workers to fill skill shortages and yet, we still have large labour gaps. To make matters worse, the needs of a workforce in the grain industry are changing with technology playing a more predominant role.

The Royal Adelaide Show gave GPSA, as the peak body representing grain producers in SA, the opportunity to convince people from all parts of our state, including metropolitan areas, to consider a career in the grain industry.

Hundreds of thousands of people were exploring the show over nine days and if we can convince a small portion of those to pursue a career as an agronomist, soil scientist, data analyst or any of the other jobs we need in our sector, then the exercise has been effective.

With the workforce demand of the future, we are going to need people who have not come from a farm and who have never worked in grain, to take up roles in our industry. It’s the only way we will meet the workforce demands of the future.

Thanks again to those businesses and organisations that supported our Great Grain Showbag: Nutrien, Primary Producers SA, PIRSA, Blue Lake Milling, PIEFA, University of Adelaide, NAB, Career Harvest, Viterra, HARDI, GRDC, Ag Career Start, AGT and the Ag Careers Hub.

By GPSA CEO Brad Perry. This Opinion Piece first appeared in the Stock Journal on 14 September 2023