AGRICULTURE has been plagued by bush fires and drought but rural leaders say education holds the key to expanding the industry's worth to $100 billion by 2030.
Charles Sturt in Wagga has come out on the front foot in a submission to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources, saying the educational institution has the means to produce enough agricultural graduates to meet demand.
Charles Strut Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the university had a long track record in agricultural innovation.
"The roots of Charles Sturt go back to the experimental farm in the 1890s and the challenges haven't really shifted," he said. Professor Vann highlighted the role technology plays in the rural sector and said there were enormous opportunities for people who choose to a career in agriculture.
"We are the largest provider of agricultural graduates and 80 per cent go back into regional employment ... we are a key element in the workforce."
To hit the $100 billion target the rural sector would need to increase production by more than 30 per cent. Before the onset of drought agriculture was worth around $67 billion.
After touring the facilities at Charles Sturt in Wagga, standing committee chairman, and Western Australian farmer, Rick Wilson said the aim was to attract the best and brightest people to work in primary industries.
He conceded Australia was sitting behind the benchmark of where we needed to be but was confident farmers would help agriculture "bounce back."
"Agriculture is a resilient industry ... institutions like Charles Sturt, which are already achieving goals in research and improving farming systems, will help us get to the $100 billion," he said.
The target of $100 billion by 2030 was set by the National Farmers Federation (NFF) last year.
In a submission to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources Charles Sturt has stated it could contribute to the target figure by producing agricultural graduates to meet the demand, and conduct research and development to foster new technologies and ideas in increasing quality and sustainability of rural outputs.