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Cash for workers to fill farm shortages

Would-be farm workers will be able to access up to $6,000 to cover relocation and travel expenses, as growers grapple with dire staff shortages.

With the peak harvest and picking season underway, farmers are struggling to find workers to get their fruit and vegetables to market and grain in the silo.

For many, it is their first bumper season after years of drought and bushfires.

Coronavirus border restrictions have sapped farmers of overseas workers, with professional services firm EY recently estimating the horticulture industry alone is down 26,000 workers.

That prompted the federal government to include youth allowance concessions and relocation payments for would-be farm workers in the 2020 budget.

The incentives come into effect from Sunday and the National Farmers Federation is urging school leavers and university students to take advantage over summer.

"There are currently thousands of positions vacant on farms across the country, including picking mangos in the Northern Territory, harvesting wheat in the WA Wheatbelt and picking cherries in Young," NFF chief executive Tony Mahar said in a statement.

"The NFF encourages young Australians who have had their overseas holiday plans dashed, to consider seeing more of their own backyard, while at the same time contributing to the noble task of sustaining Australians."

© AAP 2020