Once a male dominated industry, the agricultural sector is slowly but surely making way for women to play some of its leading roles .The Discover Farming Festival is one of many events providing a platform for women to stand up and take pride of place as leaders in the farming industry, held in Goondiwindi throughout of May.

Held annually, the Discover Farming Festival is well and truly ready to kick off its second year, with several on-farm experiences, foodie delights and entertainment events poised to make their debut in this year’s festivities, with several women coming to the forefront to promote the industry. Charisse Ladner, Vicki Murphy and Kellie Oxenford are three women making waves in their industries, putting their hearts and souls into promoting their product and agriculture and trying to bridge the gap between city and country by standing behind events such as Discover Farming. Charisse Ladner of Gooralie Free Range Pork explains the difference in roles between herself and husband Mark within the company. “Mark and I have completely different roles within our enterprise and we approach and perceive things in an entirely different manner but the two styles come together in a complementary manner to benefit our business. It’s good to have a balance,” says Ladner.

Vicki Murphy and Kellie Oxenford are both passionate in promoting their family-owned businesses, Karbullah Poll Merino, Saltbush Meat Products and Leven K Lavender – all businesses which play a significant role in boosting the local economy. Vicki Murphy of Karbullah Poll Merino how the changing industry has allowed women to become more involved in the  hands-on side of farming. “Agriculture is becoming savvier and both men and women are able to become more involved on equal terms. Improvements in technology have allowed women to become more hands-on and take more of the workload, making family-farming operations much more cost effective.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, women now make up almost 32 per cent of the workforce. There has also been a 23 per cent increase in the number of women gaining qualifications in agricultural science, technology and animal husbandry.

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