Keeping our kids working in rural towns and industries
OPINION: As the backbone of the Australian economy, agriculture is an industry vital to the continued success of not just the Southern Downs region, but the whole nation.
But with plenty of opportunities awaiting rural school leavers in larger cities, ever increasing production costs and much of Queensland drought declared, it is a potentially stark future for those looking to enter the industry.
Indeed, several Rose City businesses have closed their doors in recent weeks. It is an understandable struggle then to make agriculture an appealing career prospect for youngsters.
Despite an apparent uphill battle, I am always impressed by the innovative ways industry leaders reach out to young people to ensure the agriculture sector has a strong future.
From the santa gertrudis camp this week to the school's science competition and show teams, it is always a great thrill to see young people enthusiastically pursuing a life on the land.
This week a record number of medical interns were announced for the 2016 intake into the Rural Generalist Pathway, the flagship program of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service aiming to keep doctors in rural towns.
These programs and innovations are essential to supporting Queensland's rural communities well into the future.