Women helping drive Farmers success

Australia’s largest farm advocacy body is celebrating six years of consecutive membership growth, driven in large part by women taking on leadership roles.

Bucking the downsizing trend among member-driven organisations, NSW Farmers branches are growing and an increasing number of leadership roles are being filled by female farmers.

NSW Farmers Regional Service Manager Catriona McAuliffe said one of her branches – at Harden – was entirely run by women.

“They say if you want something done, get a country woman to do it, and our ladies are certainly getting things done,” Mrs McAuliffe said.

“Women have always played a crucial role in agriculture, handling a lot of business operations while also traditionally raising the family.

“It’s great to see more women step up and take a leadership role, and their voices are being heard.”

NSW Farmers Harden Branch chair Bronwyn Ryan said more people were accepting of women working in agriculture, challenging the stereotype of “the old bloke in a ute”. 
“My daughters grew up helping out around the farm, and now they’re both really passionate about agriculture and sharing that with the world,” Mrs Ryan said.

“More and more women are getting hands-on in the running of the family farm, and I think it’s a good thing because they’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

“I’m proud to have paved the way for my girls to take up their career in agriculture, and I think if you want to make a change you need to get involved.”

Over the past six years the NSW Farmers membership base has grown by almost 10 per cent despite – or perhaps because of – the challenges of drought, bushfires, COVID-19, mouse plagues and flooding. NSW Farmers Vice President Rebecca Reardon said one of the reasons women were increasingly getting involved was the focus not just on specific commodities, but the broader policy issues around rural communities such as health, education, telecommunications and business.

“Farmers recognise the need for a strong conduit between paddock and policy-making, and our strong presence both in the regions and in front of decision-makers really sets us apart,” Mrs Reardon said.

“We are one of the only organisations of our kind with staff on the ground in the regions, and this has been driven by local grassroots engagement on important issues.

“I think a big part of our growth is that we pay attention to the big issues both now and into the future, as well as issues that affect our whole community. This responsiveness I think is driving women to get more involved and have their voices heard.” 
Find out how you can benefit as a member of NSW Farmers here:  https://nswfarmers.org.au/NSWFA/JoinNow

Date: Monday, November 21, 2022
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]