Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Funds for dairy women’s development

The Government is backing a future farming programme that will help women create solutions to the challenges facing their farming families.

The Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) has secured financial support for the professional development programme through Government’s sustainable food and fibres futures (SFFF) grant funding.  

DWN chief executive Jules Benton says almost half a million dollars has been allocated to support the programme that will empower farming women to create innovative solutions to a variety of challenges and issues facing farmers.

“But the truly exciting part of this programme is the ability of those who are part of it to share their learnings with their communities and the 11,000 DWN members,” Benton says.

The primary goal of the programme is to enable and empower network members to farm for the future. 

“We want the dairy sector to grow, adapt and change out of positivity and not fear.

“We are experiencing rapid change within the primary sector, so we have developed a programme to extend the depth and breadth of farmers’ knowledge through peer-to-peer knowledge transfer and learning opportunities.”

The project will expand the the network’s business groups, focusing on members who will pilot a programme of wrap around services, developing a central knowledge hub and providing coaching to support business group leaders.

“The primary goal of the programme is to enable and empower DWN’s members to farm for the future so that our amazing sector that is experiencing rapid change can grow and adapt with a positive focus. 

“We encourage our members to challenge the status quo and this programme will allow not only that, but an on-sharing of their experiences and knowledge to help others in the group drive change in their own environments, community and businesses.”

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Jules Benton says the programme’s primary goal is to enable members to farm for the future with a positive focus. 

Jules Benton
Dairy Women’s Network

DWN business groups consist of 10-12 members.

Right now there are seven groups across the country co-ordinated by a DWN business group leader who prepares an agenda and facilitates discussion, but the content of each meeting is set by the members.

This encourages contribution and makes sure that relevant and timely topics are addressed. 

It also ensures the members are getting value out of the time spent meeting with their group, on field trips or listening to sector experts.

“We feel there is a gap and therefore the need to continue to build on the programme and spread it wider. 

Members have joined the programme because they are individuals who create change on their farms, in their farming partnerships and within their teams, and are conduits of knowledge back into their wider communities, Benton says. 

“I truly believe that this professional development will lead to great things in our farming sector; creating knowledge, leadership and innovation to empower the industry and aid with decision making in the future.” 

Members challenge the status quo and share their experiences and knowledge to help others in the group drive change in their own environments, community and businesses. 

Through collaboration and design thinking, group members innovate and implement solutions to problems shared by their farm businesses. 

While DWN’s partner-aligned workshops focus on opportunities to upskill, Benton says the programme provides a platform for continuous learning and thought leadership determined by the needs of the members in the groups. 

The importance of the programme is to fill a gap in the current market by allowing contribution to the wider agriculture sector through undiluted thinking and innovative solutions to a variety of challenges and issues facing farmers.

“The positive effect is far-reaching, with shared knowledge and solutions filtered from the group members through their businesses, partners and farm teams to their neighbours and communities.”

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