WITH job losses piling up across the country in the wake of the COVID-19 inspired economic recession one grain business will be a welcome exception to the rule this year.
East Coast bulk handling giant GrainCorp announced this week it plans to employ its largest workforce for four years this harvest, buoyed by the markedly improved seasonal conditions in NSW and to a lesser extent in Queensland.
The company will look for 3000 new workers to meet its harvest needs, including some positions in areas such as Queensland's Western Downs where it has not employed harvest casuals for three years.
GrainCorp officials say they are looking for around 900 workers in Victoria, 1130 in the company's northern NSW zone, 715 in southern NSW and 170 in Queensland.
The recruiting drive is based on Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) data, where the national forecaster predicted winter crop production of 44.5 million tonnes, 11 per cent above the 10-year average to 2019-20.
The forecast on the east coast, including Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland is for up to 21.5m tonnes, which is 18pc above the 10-year average.
GrainCorp's new chief executive Robert Spurway said he was excited about the chance to provide valuable work for thousands of regional Australians.
"We'll be combing regional and rural towns for new recruits and returning staff to help manage grain receivals at our sites throughout our network," Mr Spurway said.
The recruitment drive begins straight away.
From July 1, GrainCorp will offer casual positions to operate weighbridges and sample stands at receival sites, as well as hopper attendant and grain handler positions.
GrainCorp positions are a valuable source of employment for young rural residents.
Claire Matthews from Greenethorpe in NSW's Central West, has worked with GrainCorp each season for the last four years and is hoping to return to a much bigger crop this year.
"There are early starts, hot days and work that flows into the evenings, only to get up and do it all again the next day - and it's absolutely worth it," Ms Matthews said.
GrainCorp officials said experience was not required and that the company's induction program provided casual harvest staff with technical training to ensure they were equipped with the right skillset for their positions.