RURAL women from across Victoria descended on Parliament House recently for the second Annual Women in Agriculture Forum.
The event attracted more than 50 women hailing from Bacchus Marsh to Bairnsdale, from Mirboo North to Meredith and from Casterton to Cohuna.
These agricultural women not only witnessed the announcement of the Rural Women’s Network, but also shared their thoughts, ideas and their hopes for the Network’s recommencement on July 1.
Participants were inspired by several speakers who talked of their experiences in agriculture and leadership role with a common theme of the need to ‘just have a go’.
Victorian Farmers Federation’s Horticulture Group president, Emma Germano, who worked in hospitality and training before returning to the family’s Mirboo North vegetable property, talked about her experiences incorporating training into the farm business.
She also stressed the importance of having a woman’s voice in agriculture and using mentors to provide pathways for women.
Laharum flower producer and exporter, Jo Gardner, told of her path from producing herbs to the shearing shed and then to cut flower growing and marketing.
Ms Gardner has implemented a major training program for her diverse workforce and said it was important to make time for training commitments.
She also talked of the importance of having a mentor support network, taking opportunities and asking hard questions.
Mead dairy farmer, Di Bowles, said it was important to take up opportunities, to be flexibly organised, and learn to go with the flow.
Ms Bowles also had some bold advice for women to leave their comfort zone.
Participants workshopped the topic of skills development and training in agriculture, producing a range of solutions to training gaps and barriers.
All rural and regional women are encouraged to sign up for the
Rural Women’s Network, which begins on July 1, at: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/food-and-fibreindustries/rural-womens-network