Women discuss industry

29 Jun, 2013 02:00 AM
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COUNTRY women truly are a breed of their own, often tough, resilient and hard-working.

They also enjoy an opportunity to come together to support one other and discuss the challenges they face, and their hopes for the future.

Every year, the Liebe Women's Field Day is a prominent event for such women, who travel from throughout the State to view relevant presentations and to receive the latest information for their businesses, families and farming systems.

Now in it's 16th year, this year's event saw more than 150 women gather in Dalwallinu last week, with participants ranging from young high school students to the older generation of women in the rural community.

According to Liebe administration manager and Wubin farmer Jemma Counsel, it was a mix of diverse topics and the social experience which had been key to the event's success.

"There is always something happening that attracts new and different people," Ms Counsel said.

She said the Liebe Group women's committee was pleased with how the event ran and positive feedback was receicved from attendees.

"We always touch on different sides of succession and agronomy and we try to inspire people," Ms Counsel said.

"We hope to increase the management capacity of women to build a sustainable future for their family, farm business and the agricultural industry."

Ms Counsel said the event was fuelled by a women's committee comprised of local ladies who were always looking for more committee members to help decide the content of the event.

"Its always good to get new ideas, we will start planning next week and take on the comments from the evaluation and start it all again," she said.

The well-received event was characterised by insightful discussion and networking by ladies in attendence, and while participants were realistic about the future of the agricultural industry there was a distinct air of positivity.

After a brief welcome by The Nationals member for the Central Wheatbelt, Mia Davies, attendees were presented with a panel discussion from leading legal and financial industry representatives.

RSM Bird Cameron director, Judy Snell, Pacer Legal lawyer Christina Ware and Rabobank Dalwallinu branch manager, Holly Staton, all shared their perspectives on farm business structures.

The three panelists fielded questions from Rabobank branch manager, Brian Cleland, as well as questions from the floor.

Participants also heard a moving contribution by OneLife Suicide Prevention champion, Tracey Kippin, who shared her and her family's experience with suicide.

Concurrent sessions provided participants with information from soil health to succession planning, including presentations from DAFWA's Dr Chris Gazey, Rabobank global financial markets representative for WA, Andrew Tasker, Rural HR consultant Merrie Carlhausen, Bedbrook Finance's Simon Bedbrook, Nuffield Scholar and Wongan Hills grower, Jemma Sadler and Landmark Wongan Hills agronomist, Meagan Pearce.

It was out of the sprayer and into the kitchen for the Liebe men who took over the catering throughout the ladies lunch, with the women given the opportunity to network and engage in discussion.

An event highlight was an animated wide ranging presentation by WA chief scientist Professor Lyn Beazley, who discussed the current scientific landscape in WA from the pontential of genetically modified crops, to recent developments in biofuel production and the bionic eye.

2012 RIRDC Rural Women's award winner Catherine Marriott also contributed to the forum, discussing the importance of maintaining confidence, the use of language and the principles of effective communication.

To the delight of attendees Australian netballer and West Coast Fever vice captain Caitlin Bassett also attended the event, providing the details of her netball journey, her experiences balancing work, study and life and how she copes with the pressure of competition.

Ms Bassett then hosted a netball clinic for keen youngsters at the conclusion of the day.

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