Western Australia: The Liebe Group

Liebe Group meeting at their Buntine office: (left to right) Amanda Just Executive Officer; Merrie Carlshausen, Secretary; and Jill McGregor, Administrative Officer,

THE SPUR for the formation of the Liebe Group in the north-eastern wheatbelt in 1998 was the need to attract more R&D into the area.

According to the group's executive officer, Amanda Just, initially this focused on agronomy but quickly broadened to embrace environmental, human and financial issues.

She says the group firmly believes that running local trials helps farmers make more informed decisions and the group does this with GRDC-supported wheat, barley, pulse and pasture trials. But while these trials are a very important component of the group's operations, so too are events such as chemical accreditation, farm safety, wheat quality and off-farm investment courses and workshops.

Greater involvement for women

"We're all about building the capacity of rural people to question and learn and change, and forming a women's group was one way of positively addressing challenges we faced, " Ms Just says. "We set about lifting the involvement

of women in agriculture and, in turn, their value. Our aim was for women to make up a quarter of our mainstream field day attendance and, to begin this process, we held special field days for women which outlined, for example, best agronomic practices. "

Other group features:

  • A membership of 175 farm families. The annual cost, including GST, is $330 per farm family. Recognising pressures on public funding, the group strategically targets the corporate sector seeking sponsorship of specific projects.
  • A management committee of local farmers with regular input from WA Department of Agriculture personnel and agribusiness partners.
  • A five-year strategic plan which keeps the group focused and aids decision making.
  • An annual survey of members, the results of which are used to review past activities and plan new ones.

Program 4 Contact: Ms Amanda Just 08 9664 2030