The 2020 AGM was held on the 1st of September at the Grain of the Silos in Launceston, a venue chosen to highlight and support local Tasmanian produce. It was a fantastic day with many members attending along with politicians and industry stakeholders. We would like to thank everyone who made the day as enjoyable as it was.
Proceedings were opened by Minister Guy Barnett (pictured with outgoing Chair Belinda Hazell and incoming Chair Mandy Cooper) who spoke about TWiA's innovative events. He congratulated TWiA on a terrific effort to remain positive, professional and proactive during the uncertainty of COVID-19. TWiA had been able to pivot its approach remaining agile and flexible to respond to the needs of its members. Minister Barnett talked about how agriculture more broadly in Tasmania has had to also remain flexible and adapt to the rapid changes COVID-19 has created for the industry.
Minister Barnett highlighted the importance of the Tasmanian Brand and that we as an agriculture sector have the key ingredients to continue to build and develop our industry, from fertile soil, access to water and enterprising famers Tassie has a recipe for success. The Tasmanian Government has a plan to develop the ag industry by 2050 to a 10 billion dollar contributor to the economy and we are currently tracking well to reach this goal.
We were able to hear from Elle Davis from the Young Agricultural Professionals Network (YAPN) who spoke about how the Network has been progressing now it has reached it fourth year of operations. As for many organizations COVID has thrown up challenges, but YAPN has continued to seek to innovate and support members. Elle discussed that YAPN has run a range of events to provide networking opportunities and access to ag-professionals through panel discussions, social networking opportunities and late last year a winery tour. They have also run regular speaker events in collaboration with UTas and the Northern Young Professionals Network. Elle spoke about continued collaboration to generate ideas and work towards the common purpose of the future of agriculture.
Our Key Note Speaker was Barb Walters CEO of Rural Alive and Well (RAW) who spoke about her journey from a rural upbringing to becoming a CEO. Anything is possible was a key message Barb conveyed to attendees. Stating that young women can do what they set their minds on, regardless of where they come from. Barb's family were strongly involved in forestry and experienced the downturn, receiving support from RAW.
Barb shared that she'd actually been turned down for the CEO role at RAW when she first applied, but some months later was approached for the role, which she snapped up. She noted that RAW had grown really well during its time, but she recognised that there wasn't a clear focus on what they were doing well. She conveyed the honour it is to be with people in the vulnerable moments and shared that RAW needs the right person to do the job of working with often tough and stoic rural people who may still see a stigma around mental health.
Barb has continued to build RAW's focus on resilience, connection, relationships and trust, with a emphasis on positive mental health, not just crisis services. She wants to intervene before things become acute. They are working on four key programs for the future
- Reach Out to access communities and people in need. This includes a more assertive outreach focus.
- Nextgen Program for those aged 14 to 18 years to support children in building their resilience
- Wise Minds a range of social enterprise programs such as Mental Health First Aide.
- RAW Response for Recovery for crisis events such as fire, floods or economic downturns. There will be industry specific workers who are across the concerns that people will be experiencing.
Barb was an engaging and inspiring speaker and we look forward to seeing how RAW continues to develop into the future.
Attendees were fortunate enough to hear from Massimo from Grain of the Silos about his take on local produce and what inspires him. He talked about being able to taste the difference in local produce and the importance of telling the stories of producers through food. His core values are around connecting with farms and consumers to create sustainable food experiences. The meal provided at the AGM was an amazing experience of local produce beautifully prepared.
TWiA would like to thank and acknowledge outgoing Chair Belinda Hazell for her dedication and passion during her term as chair. We would also like to welcome Mandy Cooper as our incoming Chair. Mandy is a mother, wife, manager/owner of a livestock business and Rotarian. She is juggling many roles and is passionate about women in agriculture. Mandy's focus as chair will be around connection both within TWiA and also with other organisations outside of TWiA. Mandy is joined by Executive Members (pictured above, left to right) Derani Power, Larna Pittiglio, Rebekah Frankcombe, Ella Anderson, Lesley Pyecroft and Mandy Cooper. Not pictured Linda Groomsbridge.
If you would like to review Tasmanian Women in Agricultures Financial Statements prepared for the AGM you can do so below.
We look forward to the next 12 months of TWiA and continuing to foster 'a dynamic, connected and relevant community that enriches women.'