23rd Women’s Field Day an Inspiration
On Tuesday 15th June, the Liebe Group hosted over 130 people for the 23nd annual Women’s Field Day. The event is aimed at increasing the management capacity of women to build a sustainable future for their families, farm businesses and the agricultural industry.
The agenda was filled with a variety of speakers who covered a range of topics from business diversification, mental and physical health, farm safety and HR, autonomy in farming, insurance, and business management.
The day began with Joanne Harris, owner manager of Jorobi Natural Fertiliser, sharing her story detailing the shift from traditional broadacre famer to compost producer. Joanne originally began producing compost for personal use on their property, looking to move away from their reliance on imported nitrogen fertilisers. Over the years this grew, and became a commercial enterprise in its own right with the world renowned process of Controlled Microbial Compost. Compost has many benefits in farming and is growing in use in the wheatbelt. Compost is known to improve soil fertility and structure, reduce soil compaction, inhibit erosion and suppress soil borne diseases and pests.
The second session of the day was another country entrepreneur, Rhianne Elliott, Physiotherapist and owner manager of Rhiform Physio & Pilates. Rhianne talked through some of the health benefits of a good diet, and how a mother’s diet shapes her families health as well as her own. She then talked through some interesting ways to achieve exercise goals in the Wheatbelt, one of which is Pilates!
Judy Snell, Executive Director at RSM then turned the morning towards several business management focused topics with her presentation on machinery purchase options. Judy enthusiastically explained the benefits and drawbacks of several purchase options and how they may work into a farm budget. This was then followed by a run through of recent tax changes have been affecting machinery purchases, and will continue to influence purchases over the following years.
The business management topic was then continued by Kate Keamy, Watheroo grower, who gave the audience an overview of business structures and how they can influence risk. The focus of her talk was how business structures can be used to “quarantine risk”, and the topic will be explored in more detail on Thursday 29th of July at Liebe’s Bitesize Learning workshop.
Danielle McNamee, founder of ProcessWorx, a human resource and work health and safety business specialising in the Agriculture sector discussed the very hot topic of farm safety, and how safety protocols will need to change on farm to meet new industrial manslaughter laws. The topic raised a lot of questions and Danielle suggested several steps one can take to start getting your business ready. This presentation concluded with a Q&A with Ruth Young, Calingiri Grower, who is enthusiastic about safety protocols on her broad acre farm.
Liebe Group Women’s Committee Chair, Jen Birch said “It was great to see the thoughtful group discussion generated by the HR and safety presentations before leading into lunch, a delicious affair catered by ‘One L of a Good Feed’ and served by Liebe men who assisted in the kitchen”.
Local produce including salt bush lamb was featured through the lunch, accompanied by great networking and sharing amongst the ladies.
The final business management topic followed, “Insurance: Do we even need it?” presented by Latham Grower and Nuffield Scholar Dylan Hirsch. Dylan started his talk with a humorous summary of how insurance came about, and the many risks we face as farmers. He summarised the different types of insurance available, how we can optimize our insurance, and what insurance we use to cover the important risks without wasting money on premiums which are less relevant or effective. If used well, insurance can be a business tool rather than just another expense.
Key note speaker Leonie Knipe, Dealer Principal of Toyota and Nissan Northam gave an inspirational speech on her life, and how she became “More than a farmer’s wife” which led to winning the 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year. In a male dominated industry, Leonie is passionate about taking chances to achieve your dreams, and removing the stigma of being the only woman in the room.
Mrs Birch says “The high quality of speakers and variety of topics brought rural women from near and far for a fantastic day of knowledge sharing and networking. Leonie was great to listen to and I loved hearing about her journey”.
Another inspirational speech followed from speaker Jessie Ray who detailed her experience living in Chicago, USA during lockdown and the 2020 riots. It was quite the tale, and many challenges where present as she went from farm living to lockdown in a small apartment with her two toddlers.
Liebe Group member Leanne Sawyer said “I enjoyed listening to Jessie Ray and hearing her experiences with COVID while living overseas. It was a touching piece and showed the true reality of what is going on and what we in WA have not experienced”.
Mrs Sawyer also says the day was an inspirational and informative for women in rural WA. “It was great to see women travel to Dalwallinu for networking and creating friendships which has been difficult over the past year due to COVID”.
The day finished with Kondinin Group’s Ben White who spoke on new technology and the rise of autonomy in agriculture. It was an energetic topic on the exciting new technology becoming available in agriculture. Ben spoke on how automation is likely to be implemented gradually with an emphasis on wheel control potentially coming with the advent of electrification of machinery.
The Liebe Group would like to thank event partner FRRR for their contribution to the day as well as Diamond partners RSM, Rabobank, CSBP and CBH Group, and all Gold and Silver partners for their continued support. Thanks to the Liebe Group Women’s Committee for their continued efforts in planning and delivering a successful day, and to the Liebe Group volunteers who assisted with the service of lunch.