According to recent figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average age of Australian farmers is 53 years, making succession planning in the horticulture industry more vital than ever before. 

This month’s Potatoes Australia journal, released this week, profiles young growers Matt and Brendan Gallagher, who have inherited their father Lawrence’s passion for life on the land and are poised to take the reins of the family potato-growing business.

“Succession planning has been identified as a major area of concern in the industry, with recent ABS figures detailing a fall of 11 per cent in farmer numbers over the five years from 2006-11. It was also reported that Australia’s farmers tended to be considerably older than other workers,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson, Hugh Gurney.

“Succession planning is a challenge that is facing many in the industry today. The Gallagher family are a great example of how families can create a strategy for their future in the horticulture industry,” said Mr Gurney.

AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 2,000 potato growers.

Matt Gallagher was featured on Channel Nine’s ratings winner, ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’, and although the charismatic farmer didn’t find wedded bliss on national television, he says the unwavering love for his job will continue to grow.

“The passion and drive that both youngbloods Matt and Brendan have shown is an encouraging reminder that there is a passion for the industry amongst its youngest members,” said Mr Gurney.

The profile of the family details their efforts to ensure that the next generation of growers are given opportunities for training and skills development that will bolster the capabilities of the industry’s future leaders.

“Industry should take a leaf out of the Gallagher book as they represent successful succession planning.”

“Despite the challenges facing many growing operations, such as increasing input costs and the rise of imported produce, the right support will equip young growers with the tools they need to combat any obstacles on the horizon,” said Mr Gurney.

To receive a free media copy of the Potatoes Australia magazine, email your mailing details to This communication has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government

MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney – Spokesperson, AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0410 047 432, Email: