Securing the future of agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin means ensuring farming communities are places where people want to live, a social scientist says.
Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer told the Murray Darling Association annual conference regions needed to offer opportunities both in agriculture and outside of it.
"A lot of what we're hearing people say is we've got lots of jobs in agriculture, we don't have necessarily always people willing to travel or live in the communities where those jobs are available," she said.
"And more than that sometimes it's not OK for the whole family to live there."
Dr Schirmer, of University of Canberra, took part in an online panel discussion yesterday that also involved National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson, author, farmer and agricultural researcher Bruce Pascoe and Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey.
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She leads the regional wellbeing survey, an annual study examining the views of 13,000 rural and regional Australians about the liveability and resilience of their community.
"When people are experiencing challenges, it's really hard to make good decisions," Dr Schirmer said.
"When we're relying on a future where we're going to have to innovate and change more rapidly than ever, we need to support the wellbeing of farmers so they can make the best possible decisions."
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