Wild West

Host: Influential Women
Written by Carly Brooks – CEO, Influential Women.

Saddle up Central Station,

The forecast for Western Australia is blue skies, clean air, and a large chance of high pressure photo taking. A dozen East Javanese businesswomen arrive in Perth to begin Part Two of the ‘Empowering Women in Agriculture – Australia and Indonesia’ project. The highlight of their first in-plane experience was taking selfies and the lowlight was baggage restrictions. East Javanese tolerance of cold weather is up there with Territorians.

The women selected to come to Australia are all leaders of their community farm businesses and are being mentored by their WA farming counterparts. Stephanie Tarlinton, a dairy farmer from Margaret River, fielded questions about tree varieties, irrigation engineering, milk quality measures, and product traceability as the bus looped around the South West food bowl. Leanne Muir from Mordalup served up country hospitality in the shape of barbecue chops, lamingtons, and a shearing demonstration. The language barrier was particularly high when the women wanted to know where the sheep went when it rained.

Just as the Indonesian women adjusted to the isolation and wide-open spaces, we bundled them back on a plane and roared up to Anna Plains Station, 300km out of Broome. It was a happy day for the Northern Cattle industry as producers and potential consumers reunited like old friends with hugs and tears aplenty. Helen Campion or Mrs Boss as she’s known to all and sundry proudly lead the women from smoko to the chook shed and out to the cattle yards to see heifers be preg tested. Within minutes one of the visitors was literally up to her shoulder in Australian cattle and couldn’t be happier. Talk about inspecting the product! The Indonesian women gave station life the thumbs up as they could relate to the hum of the communal lifestyle.

Eventually, the thumping Kimberley sun relaxed and set over Cable Beach. Erin Gorter from Agvivo Events in Kojunup discussed what the women had learnt about feed quality and fodder conservation out on the Marine Plains that day. Thanks to Rusty Dredge from Ginmore Grazing, there was endless excitement about introducing drip irrigation to the women’s vegetable plots. Shelamar Station sweet corn was barbecued and devoured and the girls sat around with grins on their faces like one of Matt Howard’s split watermelons.

Cheers to Broome you beautiful thing.

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