AN edge in farming education was the focus of a brand launch on the edge of the Royal Agricultural Society of WA's (RASWA) main arena at the Claremont Showgrounds last week.
At a breakfast function in RASWA's Taste WA marquee the name Partners in Grain WA (PinG WA) was relegated to the annals of agricultural history with the unveiling of its new and more all-encompassing brand, Rural Edge.
Chairwoman of four years Bronwyn Fox said PinG was started as part of a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) national project in 2001 with WA gaining independence in 2017 to deliver on the business and management training needs of WA farmers.
"Since 2014, based around three core areas of people, technology and finance, we have delivered 150 workshops to 2000 people, 99 per cent of whom said they would recommend the training to others," Ms Fox said.
This included 42 projects this year with another 40 scheduled for next year, along with its Inspire Summit 2020, a biennial event specifically for women.
"Rural Edge has also responded to overwhelming feedback from farmers about the need for follow up support so in 2020 we will launch an online training platform which will enable participants to access digital training content, webinars, podcasts and become part of an online learning community.
"The new name will not change our grass roots, ground up approach to developing and delivering our workshops and responding to farmer's needs.
"But having the word grain in our name is a legacy that our organisation has outgrown given our workshops are now across all sectors of primary production.
"On our own farm at Dandaragan we farm potatoes, prime lambs and only a small amount of grain and I think we are indicative of many WA mixed farming enterprises."
Ms Fox said PinG WA had recently developed a partnership with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to deliver on the business training needs of livestock growers and was also working closely with sectors such as Western Rock Lobster, horticulture and dairy.
"Rural Edge programs are all about providing real knowledge and innovative thinking to empower people to make better informed decisions and effectively run a better business," she said.
As a not-for-profit organisation, Ms Fox acknowledged the support of corporate partners that are critical in bringing training programs to fruition, in particular GRDC, Rabobank, RSM and MLA.
"And I'd like to thank RASWA and president Paul Carter for co-hosting this event and we look forward to collaborating in the future," Ms Fox said.
"We know they are an organisation that is incredibly passionate about seeing WA agriculture thrive and they understand the importance of involving all family members in the successful running of a farm business."
Mr Carter said RASWA was pleased to work with PinG WA, now Rural Edge, given the number of similarities and common goals they shared.
"Like you, we are not for profit and we rely heavily on volunteers plus we want to bring the country to the city, celebrate the best of WA and highlight the core purpose of WA ag and its investment opportunities.
"We are doing that through our RASWA Foundation, our scholarship program and our RASWA food awards."
The other speaker at the breakfast, Kukerin farmer Mary Nenke, also spoke about the importance of family and the role of women in agriculture.
The Cambinata Yabbies and Mary's Farm Cottages co-principal, Farming Champions founder and RASWA councillor said she was a city girl who had no intention of marrying a farmer, but was lucky her husband Michael encouraged her to be involved in everything from the start, always supported her 'wild ideas' and helped her find a way to make them happen.
While their successful family businesses are testament to that, Ms Nenke said it was also crucial to keep in mind the very important role of mothers through all of that.
"I think sometimes we underestimate the importance of motherhood," Ms Nenke said.
"But I am pleased to say one thing that has changed for the better is that people do not now ask to speak to the boss when I answer the phone and I hope that is the case for other women here too."