The HLN Women in Ag (WiA) group enhances and extends rural women’s capacity to participate in and influence farm decision-making by delivering targeted information, technical skills and professional development with a focus on building group capacity to effect.

WiA is an inclusive network of like-minded women and we don’t exclude anyone out of geographic boundaries! The WiA network is delivered out of Holbrook Landcare Network, and there is a nucleus of members around the Holbrook District. However, the WiA network includes members that engage right across the Murray, Southern Riverina, North East Victoria and into the South West Slopes.

As a group, Women in Ag WiA coordinates an annual program consisting of engagement in field work, technical training, workshops, discussion groups, e-communication and social media.

How to connect with WiA

Connect with Women in Ag (WiA) on Facebook. *Please note, this is a closed group. Click ‘Join’ to become a part of the group.

Stay up-to-date with WiA on Twitter @HolbrookLN

By searching #HLNWiA you can follow conversation specifically about Women in Ag.

Joining the Women in Ag WiA group is easy; just ask the office ([email protected]) to be added to WiA’s mailing list.

Facebook

*Please note: May not work with functionality (Private Group)

Feed from HLN WiA Facebook Page -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/470646709676691/

WiA in the media

Fantastic article in the Border Mail regarding the Women In Ag “taster” event. Thank you Jodie O’Sullivan for giving this project such great coverage!

Wia

Past WiA Events

The WiA group runs a variety of different programs and events for all ages and skill levels of women. Read below for a taste of what we do!

 

Women In Ag “taster” event – 28 October 2015

What a fantastic day we had on Wednesday 28 October. Such diverse speakers, great food, some inspirational learning and lots of laughter. Lets hope we can turn all that feedback into some much needed $$ to keep this project going.

Here is the media release for the day:

On Wednesday 28 October Women In Ag (WiA) held a “taster” event at the Holbrook Shire Hall, show casing what it has on offer over the next 12 months. Around 50 local and regionally based women attended the event showing resounding support for the continuation of the WiA project. Presentations covered a diverse selection of topics, with the first presenter, Janelle Jenkins from Riverina LLS, discussing the basics of ProGraze; knowing your pasture, the impact that varying moisture levels have on pasture growth, and measuring animal weight gain against the pasture lifecycle.

Brigitte Weber from Albury Community Health Centre, gave a passionate account of women’s health, and got everyone involved and connected with a bit of laugher yoga and meditation; proving initially confronting for some, it was a fantastic ice breaker with plenty of laughter flowing.

Lucinda and Ruth Corrigan, from Rennylea, cut to the chase with their account of the family farming business and the operational techniques used to manage land, cattle and workforce personnel – including family members. They have created a business with “choice” by finding ways to work with others to achieve better outcomes for their business. The intergenerational delivery of this presentation was well received, and women were keen to learn more about this successfully run family business.

Anna Coughlan, Prue Pincott (Holbrook Paddock Eggs) and Rebecca Gorman presented 3 examples of Holistic management systems. The account from Prue Pincott, of how drought and fire forced re-evaluation of farming goals, plus business flexibility to take advantage of an opportunity to change, was inspiring. After Prue and husband Sam saw an example of cattle grazing followed by chooks, so was born the concept of Holbrook Paddock Eggs. The Pincott’s now have over 5000 free range chooks that follow the rotation of agistment cattle on their property. This was a fantastic example of using farming techniques and choices to achieve personal business goals.

The last “taster” session was delivered by Sandra Martin and Natalie Shepard from Universally Speaking, looking at communication profiles. This was a great way to finish the day, getting particpants interactive according to 4 main communication styles, and identifying techniques to help get our message effectively across to others. Key messages from Sandra & Nat included: be flexible, be prepared to get uncomfortable in order to grow, and be accountable for how we communicate with others. To view their presentation, click the link: Sandra & Nat’s presentation at taster event

If you would like further information on Women In Ag and the workshops to be delivered in 2016, contact Holbrook Landcare Network or Phoebe Gulliver E: [email protected]

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Wool Power 2015 – June 10th New Release

Women-In-Wool-–-Wool-Power-2015On Wednesday evening, 10th June, HLN’s Women in Agriculture (WiA) network hosted “Wool Power 2015”, an event looking to develop skills, learn from industry leaders and celebrate women in the wool industry. Fifty girls, women and men from the district — coming from far away as Hay and Leeton — enjoyed a lovely dinner at J&Bs Café and a range of insightful and professional speakers. The night opened with an interactive “Jobs for the Girls” session led by Jenni Turner (Fox & Lillie Rural) and Fiona Raleigh (TAFE Cootamundra). The two ladies presented an inspiring workshop focussing on careers for young women in the industry, sharing their own stories as well as their in-depth technical knowledge. The keynote speaker, Vicky Geddes, was a highlight of the night for many attendees, particularly the university students attending from Charles Sturt University, who were inspired by her business approach, innovative and analytical approach to her Merino enterprise. Vicky stated that her “science background drives a thirst for information and new technology, with all decisions based on critical thinking and evidence based practice change”. All appreciated her openness and insight into how she runs her business.

Hayley Olsson, a dynamic young filmmaker originally from Goulburn, shared with us via videolink her story of “Project Warm Heart”. With the help of the Australian farming community, Hayley collected funds and wool to produce a large quantity of blankets that were distributed to the homeless in Sydney. Hayley hoped that through telling her story “that many young women will feel that their skill set and their love of the wool industry can be combined to produce something that will not only contribute to the industry, but empower other women.”

The night finished with an expert panel with Karen Mills (Kardinia Dohne Merino Stud), Andrew Woods (Independent Commodity Services/Mecardo), Jenni Turner and Fiona Rayleigh. The audience heard about key market movements in wool, innovation on farm, crossbreeding Merino’s, transparency, accountability and education in the wool industry. It was a diverse and stimulating discussion with something for everyone.

Feedback from attendees was extremely positive; one attendee stated, “It was a great night, very social and full of facts and information. Everything was great,” and another reported that “I think it was a professional, well-conducted evening with some very experienced and interesting leaders passionate about what they do — great night!”

HLN would like to acknowledge the assistance of Border Trust and the YWCA Albury Wodonga Young Women Leading Change Grant Program for their valuable contribution to this project. It is wonderful to see so many different generations of women, all passionate about agriculture and wool, coming together at the event.

“Step-Up Communications Series 2014/15”

Twenty women recently attended the “Step-Up to Brilliant Farm Communications on Farm and for Life” series on February 17th, March 17th and April 28th.

On the back of positive feedback from sessions run in 2014, the 2015 series, delivered by Sandra Martin and Dr. Natalie Shepard, focused on understanding natural communication preferences, embracing and valuing your unique self, and improving productivity.

Supported by funding from Murray Local Land Services, the program aimed to empower women to actively participate in farm decision making.

The attendees actively engaged in training to improve interpersonal communications, group communications, business planning and building relationships.

Feedback from the series showed that the biggest change for the women attending was their growth in confidence to participate in farm business communications.

Anna Coughlan, a local producer who attended the event commented, “The Step Up communications course was fabulous! It had amazing insights regarding how we communicate and connect with people, our own self-image and how we project ourselves, and how to improve productivity. There was a lot of information over the 3 days but the links which Sandra and Nat have sent are fantastic to revisit and start to put what we learnt into practice. It’s a shame it wasn’t for longer and it’s a shame there isn’t the same course for our husbands!”

“Gardening – Your Patch from Scratch” Field Day 2015

Forty people attended the WiA gardening workshop with interesting and interactive sessions on planning a garden and predators and pollinators by Karen Retra , and soil and carbon in the garden and on the farm from Graeme Macintosh from Murray LLS. Owners of Little Billabong Station, Frank and Wendy Johnson then gave participants a tour of their composting operation, turning green waste into compost for soil conditioning.

Garden planning and seasonal planting guides were discussed, with HLN still having some of the seasonal planting guides put out by Albury-Wodonga Seed Savers to give away. Karen Retra entertained us with some truly sensational bee dancing and stories about the role of pollinators in the home garden and for agriculture. Highlight was the Cuckoo bees spotted on the verbenas in the home garden.

Participants heard about the role of carbon in soil health, how to get more Carbon in to the soil and about the bigger picture results of carbon auditing of farms in our region, which shows that in our area, 6-8% of farms planted to woody vegetation can offset the emissions from livestock on-farm – go to the HLN website to view these case studies of real farms in our regions.

Holbrook Landcare would like thank Frank and Wendy for their generosity in opening their home and all the preparation that went in to making the home garden and the market garden look ship shape. It was appreciated by all.

“Women in Wool 2014”

Women and girls from around the NSW Murray, NSW Riverina and North East Victorian regions were invited to engage with like-minded women in a professional development event; “WiA Wool Power” on Saturday 1st November 2014 in Wagga NSW.Jobs-for-the-Girls-2014-small

WiA Wool Power took on a collaborative, inclusive approach exploring career development opportunities, sharing women’s career journeys as well as encouraging and motivating women to engage in the Australian Wool Industry – no matter what their background. WiA Wool Power followed on from Fiona Raleigh’s technical taster “Jobs For The Girls”; to complement industry techniques and provide the much-needed social-support, professional networks, confidence and motivation for women to take the next step in their careers.

 

Around 25 women directly participated in the event and over 50 women are now linked in with wider social networks to encourage ongoing communication and support through HLN –WiA Program and the Jobs for the Girls Network.

See our range of documents, publications and flyers at the following link <link to documents and publications) or check out our photo gallery <link to photo gallery>

History of WiA

Women in Ag (WiA) was initiated in 2011 when Holbrook Landcare Network recognised a need in the local farming community; women seemed to be staying away from field days and there was a general absence of farming women participating in mainstream activities. 25 Women from Holbrook and surrounds set out to change this by attending a discussion session where women identified topics of interest and set an agenda to maintain their networking and support of each other. Women in Ag (WiA) was born!

In 2013, women were invited to participate in an ‘Influential Women’ forum (presented by Rural Leader Catherine Marriott) held in Holbrook, New South Wales. Women came from far and wide to discuss their needs, develop their leadership capacity, and set goals around their aspirations. At this time, Holbrook Landcare Network was developing as an organisation with a proven record of capacity building and rural engagement was well-placed to support the ongoing Women in Ag (WiA) group.

Holbrook Landcare Network sought funding from the Australian Government to initiate a project that could engage rural women in sustainable agriculture activities and promote natural resource management (NRM) and conservation. Women in Ag WiA are recognised as an important thread in the social fabric of agriculture and increasingly women are activating their skills and knowledge when engaging in on-farm decision-making; often providing a significant voice when it comes to practice change adoption and sustainable technology uptake.

The HLN WiA network consists of 250 women in total from Southern Slopes, Riverina and NE Vic generally. This number has grown from 160 in 2012.