This paper examines the extent, mitigating strategies and consequences of skill shortages in the ‘food bowl’ Riverina region of Australia. Employing survey data, empirical models are developed to analyse the importance of firm size, firm age, regional market focus, and location and industry types influencing a series of skill shortage issues. Results indicate that half of businesses experience skill shortages. The consequences of hard-to-fill vacancies vary across firms and relate to lower productivity and higher running costs. A number of strategies are employed to varying degrees by firms including: recruiting internationally, training existing staff and employing less qualified staff to fill vacancies.