Women in dairy moove forward

Women in dairy moove forward

The much-anticipated NSW Women in Dairy Bale Up conference delivered the ideal opportunity for dairy farmers to share stories of resilience and recovery.

The annual conference returned after two years of Covid cancellations to connect, support, and empower farming women, through inspiring speakers, practical workshops and networking opportunities.

“This year’s Bale Up conference was absolutely brilliant. The format works so well and I believe the sharing of stories is what contributes to the awesome culture you have at NSW Women in Dairy,”

Tania Luckin, Director, Dairy Australia

Women in Dairy Committee secretary and Attunga dairy farmer Michelle Drury said the 2022 theme was ‘Riding the Waves Together’– an apt premise for an industry heavily impacted by extreme weather events in recent years.

“This year’s conference was held in Port Macquarie which is an area that has been extremely hard hit with flooding over the last few years,” Michelle said.

Women in dairy farming gathered at the Sails Resort in Port Macquarie last week for the NSW Women in Dairy Bale Up conference.

“Dairy farms have been inundated, more than once, with flood water and debris. Many farms lost all of their stored fodder and some livestock, and recovery from these events is still ongoing,” Michelle said. “Our input costs have soared, but demand for our products is strong and the farm gate price has improved.”

Michelle said industry representatives, manufacturers, health professionals, business consultants, financial planners and special guest speakers joined dairy farmers at the uplifting event.

“Absolutely the highlight of the year attending Bale Up. Can’t wait for next year!”

Gemma Otton, dairy farmer.

“The Bale Up conference was the perfect opportunity for women on dairy farms to share their stories,” Michelle said. “And it worked. 100 per cent of those who responded to our post event survey said they felt this event was successful in building community resilience and/or improving mental health and 97 per cent they would highly recommend Bale Up to others.”

NSW Women in Dairy President and 2019 NSW Young Farmer of the Year Renae Connell

“Wow! What a great few days! Congratulations and thanks to the committee. In our ‘normal’ lives, we have to make decisions every day – to sit back and not have to make a decision for three days is a real treat. And, as for being able to hear Melinda Schneider’s story in words and song was a real privilege. Thank you so much.”

Kay Smith, dairy farmer

The three-day event attracted more than 110 delegates and covered a wide range of topics including mental health, rural resilience and empowering women.  Some of these topics were covered with the support of the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.

Michelle said Bale Up collaborates with a wide range of services that implement programs for mentoring, personal development and leadership for all NSW women in the industry.

“Such a wonderful event with some of my favourite people. Thank you Women in Dairy. Moooovelous.”

Jen Keioskie, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAHMP)
The three day NSW Women in Dairy Bale Up event included a visit to Eggert family’s Oxhill Organics farm at Wauchope. “This was brilliant! Well done to the Eggert family. So interesting!” Emily Neilson, dairy farmer.

Guest speakers this year included Australian country music icon Melinda Schneider, Warren Davies – The Unbreakable Farmer, Anthony Sarks from Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, and AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner Cressida Cains from Pecora Dairy.

“We heard from passionate women in the dairy industry about calf rearing facilities and calf health, women working together, and juggling dairy life, motherhood and work-life balance,” Michelle said.

NSW Women in Dairy provides a state-wide structure to support local and regional Women in Dairy groups. It aims to connect women and support mental health, social wellbeing and learning.

Pina Col Udder time at the NSW Women in Dairy Bale Up Conference for women in dairy.

NSW Farmers dairy manager Dan Brear said the NSW Farmers Dairy section was proud to support the Bale Up Conference.

“The importance of face-to-face interaction to stimulate conversation, share ideas and stand up for the dairy industry and its opportunities are key drivers for creating champions within the industry,” Dan said.

“As NSW Farmers Dairy manager I encourage delegates of the Bale Up Conference to consider getting involved in advocacy. It was great to hear current committee member Kate Hand’s succession journey and we are lucky to have passionate, committed advocates for the industry sitting on our committee.”

To become a NSW Farmers Dairy member please call Dairy Manager Dan Brear on 0487 248 731, or email breard@nswfarmers.org.au.

If you enjoyed reading this, check out more dairy news on a NSW Farmers led dairy energy saving project here.

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