Grain Industry Leaders Organise Innovative Perth Summit for Growers
‘Inspiring Next Generation of Wheatbelt Farm Businesses to Recognise their Part in the World Economy’
Partners in Grain (PinG) WA will be hosting 130 women from Western Australia’s Wheatbelt as participants at their inaugural Inspire Summit at the Pagoda in South Perth on April 6-7.
PinG WA chairperson Nicole Batten said WA women play a vital role in the management of farm businesses and this conference supports their learning and therefore facilitates the growth of the grain industry. Women attending the conference will travel from many Wheatbelt areas – as far as Geraldton in the north across to Merredin and Esperance.
“Western Australian farmers – growing wheat, barley, oats, lupins and canola – are some of the most efficient grain farmers in the world and Partners in Grain WA aims to support this important industry,” Mrs Batten said. “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 1000-15,000 hectares. WA generates 8-10 million tonnes of wheat per annum which is 50% of Australia’s total annual wheat production.”
The two-day conference is the next step on from popular business skills workshops delivered by PinG – it is aimed at women who already know the basics of operating a farm business but are keen to learn more. The conference has already sold out and a waiting list is now running.
“The conference will facilitate networking opportunities, further strengthening farm businesses and their associated communities,” said Mrs Batten. “Speakers and discussions also generate ideas and subsequent innovation – vital for those in the grains industry, who often operate in remote areas. Upskilling women on farms will add to the productivity, prosperity and sustainability of grain farms. The PinG summit is an opportunity for women in our grain growing businesses to reach their potential by, not only increasing their networks, but gaining the tools, knowledge and confidence to go to the next level in either their business, community or industry. We are not just small business operators, but part of the world economy and the Inspire Summit aims to grow the potential of the people behind it.”
Conference topics will include: promoting a global perspective, promoting agriculture positively, farm boards and governance opportunities, human resources, social media and technology, advanced office management, overcoming adversity, succession and communication and negotiation.
WA Coordinator Erin Green, who is also a grain grower in Yuna (north of Geraldton), said: “As a not-for-profit, the opportunities PinG provides are otherwise unavailable or inaccessible to growers. Since taking on this role, we’ve coordinated more than 70 training events across WA to more than 850 growers. Although this event is aimed at women, 30% of participants overall have been men. After PinG WA events, 99% of participants recommended the training to other growers.”
The event is sponsored by Rabobank as the Summit Partner. Rabobank acting state manager for Western Australia, Steve Kelly said: “The Inspire Summit is a great opportunity to recognise the importance of women in agribusiness and farming. Women wear many hats in their farming businesses, and are often integral in not only the day-to-day running of the business but financial management, human resources and marketing. This summit aims to enhance these skills, which can not only be applied back into the business but in community and industry initiatives.”
INSPIRE is supported through sponsorship from Rabobank as the Summit Partner. Planfarm, RSM, CBH, GRDC, DAFWA and Telstra are Summit Sponsors.
Partners in Grain
WA Coordinator; 0429108936 email@example.com
Acting State Manager, WA; firstname.lastname@example.org; 0427427251
ABOUT NICOLE BATTEN (PARTNERS IN GRAIN WA CHAIRPERSON)
Grain industry leader Nicole Batten, is a grain and livestock farmer based near Yuna, north of Geraldton, more than 500km north-east of Perth. She lives with her husband Jason and two children. Nicole is a director in the farm business and plays a hands-on role within the administration and Dorper stud activities. The farming system and decision-making process is based on sustainability in a low rainfall zone using precision agriculture technology, along with cropping and livestock integration. She is also vice chair of the national PinG organisation and one of four finalists in the 2016 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award. Nicole will soon complete a three-year term as WA PinG chair and is due to be made chair of the national PinG in August 2016.
Nicole has also recently been appointed as a farming representative on the National Centre for Farmer Health Advisory Group, a partnership between Western District Health Service and Deakin University in Hamilton, Victoria. NCFH aims to make a difference to farmers’ lives focusing on the often-overlooked human factor within farming enterprises.
Furthermore, Nicole is a community development officer at the Shire of Chapman Valley and has attended agricultural study tours to New Zealand and East Java with Influential Women. “That has had a significant impact on my passion toward small rural communities and the people within them,” Nicole said. “The shared passion for agriculture is huge. We are all growing food to live, whether it is to feed our families, a region or country. Whilst we have contrasting cultures and methods, as women we have the same priorities in family, education and health. In rural communities across Australia, this takes priority just as it does in Indonesia, or anywhere in the world. The Australian agricultural industry needs communities to survive and keep people on the land who are passionate about what they do. The East Java delegation was a powerful group of ladies with strong networks and industry influences across WA. To be involved in this experience has increased my thirst for knowledge and involvement in our international commodities market as well as the sustainability of rural communities.”
ABOUT ERIN GREEN (PARTNERS IN GRAIN WA COORDINATOR)
Grain industry leader Erin Green lives on an 8800-hectare farm near Yuna, north of Geraldton, with her husband Brady and two daughters. The farm is 100% cropping, with a mix of wheat, lupins, canola and barley. The management of the farm business has changed significantly in the past 10 years. After a drought in 2006, livestock were removed and the farm has completely transitioned into a Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) system. “We’ve implemented a Farm Advisory Board to assist with strategic management of our business,” Erin said.
She has been the WA coordinator of PinG since 2013. “Being a grower, WA Coordinator of PinG and member of the Rabobank Local Client Council allows me to see different perspectives of farming and has given me a good understanding of where growers’ business skills are at, the support they are seeking and how beneficial professional development opportunities can be,” she said. Erin has a Bachelor of Agribusiness Marketing, has worked as a development officer with the Mingenew-Irwin Group and in marketing and public relations. She has been the secretary of Yuna Farm Improvement Group and is a current Rabobank Local Client Council member. In 2014, Erin was selected as WA’s representative to attend Rabobank’s Young Farmer’s Masterclass in the Netherlands. This was a 10-day leadership program for about 40 farmers, under the age of 40, from 16 different countries.
“Farmers manage multi-million dollar businesses with extremely small budgets and time allocations for management (when compared to other industries),” Erin said. “On top of this, agriculture is an all-encompassing industry where you live where you work and it can be extremely difficult to manage physically and mentally when times are tough. The more we share ideas between farms and responsibilities within farms the more enjoyable and manageable our farming days should be. We all want to be successful but we also want neighbours to enjoy it with. Who wants to be the last farmer remaining? Yes, the money is made in the paddocks but, as margins become tighter and businesses become larger, it can also be wasted through mismanagement in the office. Farmers shouldn’t underestimate their knowledge, but they also shouldn’t be expected to know everything. Know your skills and know when to ask/pay others for their skills. In respect to farming and agriculture, I am passionate about growers’ understanding the value in their knowledge and presenting themselves professionally as individuals and as an industry. If we want to attract people to this industry and be respected in the business and consumer world, the old stereotype of what a farmer is and does needs to be changed, and we are the only ones who can do it.”
ABOUT PARTNERS IN GRAIN (WA)
Partners in Grain (PinG) – established in 2001 by Grains Research and Development Commission managing director Professor John Lovett – is a national, not-for-profit organisation that facilitates professional development opportunities for farming businesses. It delivers demand-driven, flexible and innovative programs are tailored to the needs of Australian grain growers. The organisation aims to foster a culture of networking, sharing and mentoring to encourage more active participation in the industry. PinG is about increasing innovation and leadership within the industry through learning, networking, partnerships and communication.
To effectively represent the diversity of growers across Australia, PinG operates under a structure of five states or regions. From the ground up each state has a volunteer Reference Group consisting mostly of growers, but also of industry representatives and interested stakeholders. Through input from their local communities and industry contacts, the Reference Group guides and supports a State Coordinator who facilitates the business of their region. An overarching National Reference Group and Executive Manager ensures the five separate states work cohesively, maximising the potential of Partners in Grain across Australia.
For more information go to: www.partnersingrain.org.au or Like Facebook Partners in Grain WA.
WA GRAIN STATISTICS
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 $2 billion for the state economy each year.
Wheat production occurs across the WA Wheatbelt on 4000, mostly, family-run farms ranging in size from 1000-15,000 hectares. WA generates 8-10 million tonnes per annum which is 50% of Australia’s total annual wheat production.
More than 95% is exported to the Middle East and Asia.
Barley makes up 25% of the state’s cereal crop and delivers $0.65 billion in barley grain and malt export earnings each
year. Forty per cent of barley produced is delivered as malting grade destined for Japanese, Chinese and Indian beer,
while the remaining 60% is feed grade and bound for the Middle East.
WA produces 40 per cent of the nation’s canola. About 2.7 million tonnes is harvested each year, generating $0.6 billion
for the economy. The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Japan are WA’s largest export markets.
WA is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lupins, most are for animal feed and are sold to European countries,
Japan and Korea. It delivers about $65 million in export earnings per annum.
Oats generate $200 million and the major markets are Mexico, Asia and South Africa.