The NSW Nationals in the state government are urging the community to come together to help harvest the state’s agricultural crops.

NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said there was an opportunity for school leavers, retirees and job seekers to take part in bringing in the bumper harvests forecasted for the coming months.

“With national borders closed due to COVID we simply don’t have the number of seasonal workers available to harvest cherries, stone fruit, broadacre crops and work in some of our livestock industries,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is an opportunity for our school leavers, those embarking on gap years and people not currently working to be part of this year’s harvest, earn some great money and try working in a new industry.

“Primary producers and members of the community can come together this harvest to get what is shaping up to be our best harvest in years out of the orchards, off the paddocks and to market. I urge everyone who can to get involved.”

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said a single point of contact for primary producers, interested workers, transport and accommodation providers had been created thanks to cooperation of all levels of government and agencies.

“Harvest Trail are a regular source of employees for the region, we’ve been working with them to proactively encourage people who haven’t worked in horticulture in the past to try the industry this year. We’ve also been working with them on transport and accommodation to bring people in the region to pick this year, it’s not just about finding staff, it’s about ensuring the facilities are available,” Mr Eastlake said.

“If we don’t have the staff, the fruit doesn’t get picked, we have a time-sensitive crop. Even days can see rain events, heat or cold impact the fruit and you can’t harvest.”

To find available work visit Help Harvest NSW: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/help-harvest-nsw.