If you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, farming is stuffed.And we are stuffed with it.
Because we’re all old.
And getting older.
Right now farming has the highest proportion of 55-year-olds, and older, of all major occupations in Australia.
In fact almost half of us are designated grumpy old men and women.
Next best – or worst, depending on your retirement dreams – are (bracketed together) CEOs, general managers and politicians.
At 32 per cent.
That’s 13 per cent adrift of the cockies.
With doctors filling third place on the pensioner podium at 29 per cent.
However, the thing which strikes me pink – with jealousy mostly – is all those other coots working into their sunset years have access to bigger incomes, golden handshakes and/or parachutes and a couple of dry years, a flood and the occasional bushfire, probably aren’t going to hurt. Except maybe for the cost of their banana smoothies.
But envy aside, the news for farming looks all bad.
Because even though almost half all farmers are over 55-years-old, a staggering (and if they feel like I do most mornings, they are really staggering) 70 per cent of us are over 45.
The business has become a Baby Boomer log jam.
I mean if you look at the bar chart of the 20 groups surveyed farming is right off the chart.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the workforce has been slowly ageing for the past 20 years.
Well hello. So have I. And not so slowly.
But since the good old Global Financial Crisis, ABS says the turbocharger has really kicked in.
And if you think we’ve got problems, then our national leaders have absolutely no bloody idea what to do about it.
When he saw the latest ABS figures one National Farmers Federation executive, describing it as a death spiral, was prompted to tell city media: “…it points to the conclusion that the single farmer on a broadacre farm is an endangered species”.
Well I don’t know about you, but that certainly makes me feel a whole lot better.
And more than justifies the money I spend on peak industry groups.
But let’s look on the bright side, because things could be worse.
After all, I could be a dairy farmer and have to stagger out of bed 365 days a year, every year.
Except next year, when it would be 366 days.
All I can say is the next clown who tells me farming is a lifestyle choice had better duck.