By Christine Williams, AgriFutures Australia. As featured in the 2017 Country Web Annual
Connecting and empowering rural women to take an active role in rice farming businesses is the driving force behind a new Women in Rice network, established by the AgriFutures Australia Rice Extension team.
The Women in Rice network aims to boost women’s contribution to a more profitable and sustainable rice industry by focusing on sharing knowledge, building skills to make good farm business decisions and growing confidence to take an active role in running the business.
The introductory information and networking event was held at the Coleambally Community Hall in June 2017.
AgriFutures™ Rice Extension Officer, Leah Garnett said women in rice farming businesses make a valuable contribution to the decision-making process, yet many industry events remained male-dominated. This new network aims to create a dynamic environment where women can learn and create a more connected community.
‘Centered on the theme of rice, future events will explore topics such as ag technology, best practice management of rice, the future of agriculture and key resources and opportunities that women can access to further their skills and networks,’ said Leah.
AgriFutures™ Chair and Riverina business woman, Kay Hull AM, was the guest speaker at the event and talked about the role of RIRDC in the rice industry and opportunities for women in rural communities.
‘There’s never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture. AgriFutures™ is investing in building the capability of the people who will lead us into a prosperous future and Women in Rice is just one way we are bringing people together, fostering leadership in the rice industry and driving change in rural industries’, said Kay.
Another highlight of the event included an ‘Ask an Agro’ session with Alleena Burger—a senior agronomist with BR&C Agents who has worked in the agricultural industry with a focus on rice for more than two decades.
Alleena spoke about growing up on a rice farm at Moulamein and how it fostered her interest in the crop, and how as a teenager watching the change from drill sown to aerial sown was pivotal to her career direction. She also spoke about how she used social media to keep up with new management methods and issues farmers experience each season.
Technology aside, one of the most exciting developments in the industry is greater acknowledgement of women’s role in agriculture—move that Alleena is embracing and proud to promote.
The Women in Rice network is open to all women with an interest in rice and farming. Keep an eye out for future events in the NSW Murrumbidgee and Murray Valley rice growing regions.
You can follow Rice Extension on: