Market Morsel: Farmer age is just a number, a growing one.

Conversations | 10th February 2023 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

“Age is just a number, yours just needs an algorithm to compute”

I love data. I enjoy playing around with it, and its nice to find a new dataset lurking around the internet which provides a new insight.

Sometimes those insights are valuable, some are just a bit of fun to keep an analyst entertained, for examples:

This analysis falls somewhere between useful and useless, but bear with me.

When looking for some data on the Abares website, I came across a section showing the age of farm owners/managers. Interestingly, it also held a dataset for the age of their spouses. So let’s look at what it tells us.

The first chart below displays the average age of owners/managers of broadacre farms in Australia from 1990 to 2021. Clearly, the average age of farmers is increasing. In this period, the average age of farmers has gone from 53 to 63.

The same can be said for the age of spouses. This makes sense, as people generally have spouses roughly within a similar age range. Although clearly not always the case (see Mick Jagger). The average age of a spouse has increased from 49 to 60.

The age of spouses over this time has actually increased at a greater rate than that of farmers. The age gap between farmers and their spouses has decreased by 1 year.

So the serious bit. Well, farmers are getting older. As we age, our productivity isn’t always going to be that of a 25year old young buck. This can lead to a higher requirement for additional labour to help on the farm.

We all deserve to enjoy life, and with farmers and their spouses hitting ‘record levels’, there will likely be a move to retirement in the coming years. This is something that should be welcomed, but it might all come in a rush. So invest in a caravan company.

Some children might wish this would come sooner so they could take over the farm.