There's a dire future for Orange farmers according to Australian National Field Days chairman Robert Armstrong.
Mr Armstrong believes in two or three years Australia will be in the grip of a food shortage.
The average age of farmers is 65. Mr Armstrong fears once these farmers die, crucial knowledge will be lost.
He said because of the globalisation of agriculture Orange farmers have to compete with international corporations. They’re not coping.
“Orange orchardists are struggling,” he said.
“The return is the worst it’s ever been.”
He is so concerned he will not let his children carry on generations of family tradition on the land. Mr Armstrong is a third generation apple orchardist.
“I’m not letting them on the land until they have a trade or a degree,” he said.
“They need something to fall back on.”
He said there aren’t enough farmers to keep up with export demand.
In the 1960s there were 300 farmers in the Orange area. Now there are 35.
“It’s the nature of the beast for every good year you get you get ten bad years,” he said.
“There is a real potential problem, Australia really hasn’t felt it yet but I think they will in two or three years.”
Mr Armstrong said there are opportunities for those who can hang on.
“It’s just my view but the people that can hang on should because there will be opportunities,” he said.
“The export potential for Australian product will go up.”
To find out how Orange farmers plan to combat the problem head to the Australian National Field Days. The event runs from October 16 to 18 in Borenore.