The focus for agricultural leaders in recent years has been on driving productivity growth, which would boost our sector's overall performance and secure the future of farming. But there's one growth opportunity that is sometimes overlooked, and that's in developing our own talent.
Women make an immense contribution to the agriculture sector, generating roughly one-third of on-farm income, often through the management of the farm business itself.
However, we know women often don't receive formal support or recognition in this effort, and that's why NSW Farmers will deliver an innovative project next year that will give women in agriculture the chance to develop their own small business and skills training.
The Empowering Women in Farming Businesses project, funded by the state government and delivered by NSW Farmers, does away with the 'one size fits all' approach and instead gives local women a hand in designing their own development opportunities.
We know that each community has its own unique opportunities and challenges, and we want to provide agricultural women with business-focused networking and skill development opportunities to further develop their confidence and support systems.
By partnering with locals and developing something that will deliver the biggest benefit, we can make sure we get the biggest impact from this funding, whether that's skill-based workshops, networking events, and farm or business tours in their local region, which NSW Farmers will then organise and facilitate for the community.
But these events won't organise themselves, and while we have an extensive network of members, we want to hear from all interested communities/groups/prominent women who want to put their hands up to be involved.
This is the message we will be taking to the 30th Rural Women's Gathering in Orange next month, and we'll certainly be encouraging anyone who has put their hands up for the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award to also get in touch with us.
There's a lot of untapped opportunity out there, and our sincere hope is that together we can build a stronger agricultural sector for all women.
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