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Julia Payne

Creation date: 19 November 2021

Introducing Julia Payne


Julia Payne holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Agribusiness and recently joined the agribusiness department at Southern Cross Farms, the Sunraysia district’s largest corporate farm management company. Julia recognises that across industry and community, there is a degree of fatigue to discussions of sustainability but she says there’s a fresh perspective to be found. Her essay on the meaning, practices and behaviours that need to change for us to be truly sustainable earned her a place on the LEAD scholarship program shortlist.

Here is some of what she said.


I know that there are many people in Australian agriculture that will roll their eyes at the thought of hearing more about ‘sustainability’, and I hear you! What I do want to do is provide a fresh and youthful perspective to the concept of sustainability.


There are three key areas that we need to work on to support a sustainable future in agriculture, these are:

  • Addressing the issue of the ageing agricultural population in Australia.
  • Changing the culture around the way that we farm.
  • Greater education and appreciation of the final product, to reduce waste.

The average age of the agricultural worker is 56, which is 17 years older than average Australian worker.


In order to be sustainable, we are going to need people working in the industry who are young enough to make the operations efficient and take advantage of developments in technology and innovation. So, what does the whole industry need to push for and to help rollout? EDUCATION! We need schools, particularly secondary schools, to promote agriculture as a valid career pathway, because it is!


A greater level of education is also required at a primary school level. This is about understanding where food comes from and what goes into producing the food that ends up on the dinner plate or in the lunch box. This type of education requires industry engagement in the form of interactions with school aged students to do excursions onto farms and into businesses to be able to see the processes that are involved in getting produce into the supermarkets. This would be a ‘Paddock to Plate’ concept to hopefully allows these students to have a greater appreciation of where their food comes from, for example my home town near Mildura could host the process of getting an orange from the paddock to the Melbourne markets and then into the supermarkets. Not only will this educate students, but it will hopefully also help these students to make more conscious decisions when it comes to food waste.


Currently, one third of all food produced is lost or wasted… costing the global economy close to $940 billion each year.


Ultimately, the future of the agriculture industry is in all of our hands. We need an education system that facilitates learning of the food chain and the potential career opportunities available in the agriculture industry, this will help to curb the issue of an ageing workforce. There also needs to be an industry-wide approach to adopting more environmentally friendly products and educating people to reduce food waste. A collaborative and innovative industry will lead to a sustainable industry.

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