In a very short space of time, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and agricultural organisations from around Australia have been able to pull together Operation Grain Harvest Assist to help farmers harvest their crops during a time of increasing workforce shortages.
Retired Royal Australian Armoured Corps Lieutenant Colonel Garry Spencer AM said communications were a critical element of the operation’s success.
“We know COVID-19 has greatly reduced the supply of grain harvest workers from overseas, with more than 100,000 fewer backpackers available this year compared to 2020,” he said.
The basis of the plan is to motivate retired and former ADF servicemen and women to mobilise under Operation Grain Harvest Assist to answer the call-up and work on grain farms stationed throughout Australia.
Mr Spencer said: “That’s why we’ve put our heads together with grains industry leaders and devised a plan that’ll help not only farmers but also benefit our people with the option to get out and work on-farm to gain a sense of satisfaction, and valuable income, at this vital time.
“Driving a tank or piloting aircraft in a military manoeuvre is surely a great segue to working on-farm using heavy machinery such as harvesters with auto-steer, GPS guidance and air-conditioning.”
Retired and former ADF personnel wishing to become involved are advised to make contact with Operation Grain Harvest Assist through its Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/360895489034795/discussion/preview.