Women in Grains

(above) Checking out the workings of the combine. Merna Curnow (left) with Farm$mart facilitator Shannon Williams.

Grower Julie Cain has become involved more than ever in her family's farm business. This is thanks to the extra technical knowledge, skills and confidence she gained from participating in 'Women in Grains' groups.

Supported by growers through the GRDC, 'Women in Grains' is aimed at increasing women's participation in all aspects of the grains industry. The program brings women together to work out what skills they need, and then brings in the expertise they need to gain the skills.

From her home at 'Riversleigh', Laanecoorie, near Bendigo, Victoria, Mrs Cain said that although she was from a farming background, it wasn't until she was working in the paddocks that she realised how much she didn't know.

"You help, you do what is asked, but the guys haven't got the time to tell you how or why things are done," says Mrs Cain. "I now have the confidence to do more because I know what I'm doing when I'm helping out."

Mrs Cain and the other women in the Laanecoorie group have learnt about identifying root diseases, understanding soil tests, combine calibration, predicting yields, calculating seed germination rates, and handling and storing farm chemicals safely, among other skills.

Merna Curnow, Chairman of the 'Women in Grains' reference group, says that providing women with better skills will help to increase their confidence in their own abilities, so that they will join mainstream activities like farm walks, TOPCROP and other industry meetings, and field days.

She is keen for other women to take the opportunity offered by 'Women in Grains'. "It has been good to be able to work with my husband and work through new information about farming together. After all, two heads are better than one."

"It has opened my eyes to the finer bits and pieces that nobody tells you," says Mrs Cain. "If something happened, like my partner got sick or even worse, I would know what to do now, and I'd make a pretty good go of it with the other partners in our business."

Program 4.1.1

Contact: Mrs Merna Curnow 03 5435 7272 Ms Nicki Berrisford 03 5362 2655