‘Inspiring Farmers to Lead Profitable Businesses’
Partners in Grain WA (PinG WA) expects more than 200 businesswomen from Western Australia’s Wheatbelt to attend its second INSPIRE Summit at the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle from March 27-28.
PinG WA Chair Bronwyn Fox, who lives in Dandaragan, said: “I am delighted to announce the second PinG WA INSPIRE Summit is nearly sold out. This year more than 200 leading rural businesswomen from all over Western Australia will come together again in Perth to learn and improve their business skills and network with other successful agribusiness owners.”
Mrs Fox said the PinG WA Summit and its many workshops held in WA’s regions, in the past few years, focused on learning successful farm business skills. “Farm business skills are not just about increasing production,” she said. “Production is key, but managing costs and markets are also imperative.”
“Good leadership is also important, and that is about empowering the people around you and understanding a team approach is essential to a successful farm business.”
Women attending the conference will travel from across and beyond the traditional Wheatbelt areas – as far as Gascoyne River in the north across to Southern Cross and the Esperance region. There are also women from varied enterprises as well as just grain farmers. In the past Bronwyn’s Dandaragan farm has grown canola, wheat and barley and now grows lupins for sheep flocks but specialises in potatoes, reflecting the growing diversity of WA’s agribusiness sector and the fact that the conference program will be attractive to farming businesses generally, not solely grain growers.
The two-day summit is aimed at women who already know the fundamentals of operating a farm business but are keen to learn more. Differentiating it from other conferences, and ensuring the focus remains true to its objectives, INSPIRE is only open to farmers, sponsors and speakers. The event is nearly fully booked with less than 10 spots remaining.
Speakers include: Matina Jewell (sponsored by Plum Grove) lessons of leadership and resilience; Nadine Campion (sponsored by the RRR Network) on 10 Seconds of Courage; Dr Cheryl Kalisch Gordon (Rabobank Senior Grains & Oilseeds Expert); Esther Jones (Nailing It: presenting well and articulating your message); and Dr Joyce Chong (The Skill Collective) on wellbeing. There will also be informative sessions on managing risks and a host of growers sharing skills and experiences within the panel and concurrent sessions.
INSPIRE Coordinator Erin Green, who is also a grain grower in Yuna (north-east of Geraldton), and past PinG WA Coordinator said: “As a not-for-profit, the opportunities PinG WA provides are otherwise unavailable or inaccessible to farmers. Over the five years I’ve been involved, PinG has delivered approximately 100 training events across WA to about 1400 growers. Although this event is aimed at women, more than 30% of PinG participants overall have been men. After PinG WA events were held, 99% of participants recommended the training to other growers.”
The event’s official partners are Rabobank and Plum Grove, while sponsors are RSM, Planfarm, HopgoodGanim Lawyers, Grain Industry Association of Western Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Project funding has been secured with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the RRR Network and the Department of Communities’ Grants for Women.
Rabobank regional manager for Western Australia Crawford Taylor said Rabobank was delighted to again be supporting the INSPIRE Summit. “The first summit was such a success, showcasing the crucial role women play in their business, community and family,” Mr Taylor said. “The 2018 Summit will build on that positive momentum, providing women with the opportunity to further develop their leadership and management skills. And this includes understanding global consumer trends and how grain growers can position their business to stay ahead of the game, with the bank’s grains analyst Cheryl Kalisch Gordon to set the scene by delivering the first presentation of the summit.”
Rikki Foss, Marketing Manager at Plum Grove, said the best investment within this industry was with its people and its community. “INSPIRE Summit provides many opportunities to enhance women’s skills and passion for their businesses and communities,” she said. “A few years ago Plum Grove had the opportunity to meet Matina Jewell and since then we have wanted to bring her back to Western Australia. The INSPIRE Summit has given us the opportunity to introduce you to a remarkable woman who has faced many challenges on and beyond the battle field. Matina truly represents the word ‘resilient’ and we look forward to you hearing her story.”
Ryan White, Senior Associate within HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Agribusiness team is speaking at the event. He said: “When working with our agribusiness clients, we are constantly impressed by the contribution farming women make to their businesses, families and the communities they live in. But at the same time, we also recognise how important it is farming women get the opportunity to connect with their peers and share knowledge. The opportunity to be involved with and support a conference focused entirely on the professional and personal development of farming women was something we grasped with both hands. We are proud to be a part of a forum that celebrates farming women and supports them in learning new skills, making new connections and planting the seeds for growth and development in their businesses.”
Cameron Weeks, Farm Management Consultant at Planfarm, said: “Women are so often underestimated with regards to the role they play in farm businesses so any forum that brings them together as businesswomen is not to be missed. We welcome the chance to be involved in the summit and hope that we can help inspire the women attending to sustain or further develop their key business roles. The forum will feature leading women in WA agriculture in attendance and, as business advisers, we are looking forward to the event a great deal.”
“RSM have chosen to be a part of INSPIRE again in 2018 following their involvement in the successful INSPIRE 2016,” said Jo Gilbert, director of RSM Australia Pty Ltd. “RSM was established in Western Australia over 95 years ago and in that time we have seen the traditional roles of women in farming businesses change substantially. Women in today’s farming businesses embrace technology and realise the power of connectivity – both with their peers and their advisors. Through our large network of 30 offices across Australia we aim to keep up with the changes as they occur in business and use this knowledge to help our clients confront their challenges head on.”
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Partners in Grain WA (PinG WA) is a not-for-profit organisation that provides locally relevant, personalised training for Western Australian broadacre farmers. As a state based organisation PinG WA has an alliance with similar entities covering NSW, QLD, Vic/Tas and SA. Each state entity operates according to its growers needs.
In WA, the Coordinator and volunteer Board work to facilitate professional development where and when it’s required. This involves coordinating relevant events and opportunities that provide targeted training specific to farm businesses.
As PinG WA is not a commercial organisation, it does not compete with services that are already available. Its role is to provide services and opportunities that are not being delivered or are not readily accessible in rural WA.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Food, wheat is the major grain crop in WA, making up 70 per cent of total annual cereal production and generating around $A2 billion for the state economy each year. Wheat production occurs across the WA Wheatbelt on 4000, mostly, family-run farms ranging in size from 1000 to 15,000 hectares. WA generates 8-10 million tonnes of wheat per annum which is 50% of Australia’s total annual wheat production.