Female Farmers of the Future award winners offer free workshops across Victoria

01 May 2023

Four free workshops are being run across Victoria by the selected participants of CQUniversity’s Female Farmers of the Future (FFoF) program to link local producers with the latest technology for future drought proofing and preparedness.

The FFoF project was designed to build the skills, confidence, and leadership qualities of the recipients as well as boost drought resilience and is funded by the Australian Government’s Drought Resilience Ideas Grant.

In October 2022 four winners were selected and awarded a $5,000 cash contribution to purchase and install a commercially available agri-tech system or tool on their farms and gained access to mentoring from industry professionals.

Project lead Dr. Nikki Kelly said the time has come for the women to reveal what they learned about their chosen agri-tech.

“Our grant recipients have been busy researching, selecting and implementing their chosen technology on-farm so they are looking forward to sharing their experience,” she said.

“Each recipient will be running a workshop so their local community can benefit from their newfound knowledge,” she said.

The grant recipients, their chosen technology, and the workshop time/location are as follows:

Amanda Rofe

Soil moisture sensors

Monday 22 May 2023

9 am - 12 pm

550 Balmattum Siding Road

Balmattum VIC 3666

Sandra Pollington

Gallagher weigh scales

Tuesday 23 May 2023

9 am - 12 pm

281 Quambatook Road

Nullawil VIC 3529

Sally Rowe

Soil moisture sensors

Wednesday 24 May 2023

10.30 am - 1.30 pm

815 Manley Road

Merrigum VIC 3618

Francine Gilfedder

Gallagher TW5 weigh scales

Friday 26 May 2023

9 am - 12 pm

2433 Princes Highway

Nowa Nowa VIC 3887

“The aim of the program is to enable participants to increase their capacity, confidence and capability to take on leadership positions across the supply chain, and extension to their local communities through these workshops is another step in that direction,” Dr. Kelly said.

Grant recipient Amanda Rolfe will be sharing how soil moisture sensors are optimising water consumption on her garlic, beef and hay property in Balmattum, Victoria.

“It’s been exciting to see how much more precise we can be with water management with the probes in place,” she said.

“The drought may have broken recently but we know from history that more dry times are around the corner, so we need to always be maximising our water efficiency and soil moisture probes provide the information we need to be able to do that.

“I know from experience it can be hard to make the decision to spend money on new tools and technology so it can only be helpful to show others what you are doing so they can evaluate if the tech could work for them.

“I’m excited to welcome interested people onto my farm so they can see the probes in action.”

The Female Farmers of the Future project is being delivered in partnership with the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, Birchip Cropping Group, Food and Fibre Gippsland, and Riverine Plains.

Chief Executive Officer of Birchip Cropping Group & Regional Director of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, Fiona Best, said it was exciting to see the women involved in the project being ‘change makers’ in their communities.

“Giving the grant recipients the mentorship and financial support to get out and improve their drought preparedness has positioned them as leaders for their community. It’s great to see them now pass on what they have learned,” she said.

“They are essentially doing extension and bridging the gap for other farmers in their area who might want to increase their drought preparedness but don’t have the connections or resources at the moment.

“Hopefully we'll see lots of interested people come along to these field days and exchange ideas with the grant recipients and learn from their experience.”