Cultivating Rural Excellence

Last year Ella Anderson was the recipient of the Tasmanian Women In Agriculture scholarship to attend the Cultivating Rural Excellence Program. She shares her thoughts on the benefits of the program for her family's beef farm.

The Cultivating Rural Excellence Program, run by Rural Business Tasmania, has been an invaluable experience for me personally and professionally. I would like to thank Tasmanian Women in Ag for sponsoring me to be able to attend the program in 2019. The program has greatly supported my family's business in continuing to support itself and grow.

Cattle graze at Circular Ponds in Mayberry

As a farmer it is all too easy to become focused on the day to day tasks that need to be done to keep things ticking over; feeding cattle, mending fences, and paying bills to name a few of the numerous tasks that consume each day. Stopping us from having time to take a step back and look at the big picture. It can be challenging to find the time to devote to the business of business. The Cultivating Rural Excellence Program has allowed me to devote a day each month to my family’s business and learn valuable business skills made relevant and approachable for my family’s farm. Attending the program over the year made it manageable to implement small changes and take in the information provided each month.

We heard from a diverse range of speakers, who offered a range of perspectives and strategies for being successful in business. Covering topics such as developing business plans, public speaking skills, harnessing advertising and media, safety planning on farm and financial skills. These are all skills that are crucial to successful business, but are hard to learn in the day to day of keeping livestock and crops healthy. The Cultivating Rural Excellence Program provided the space to work on skills that are important for businesses, but often get overlooked in the hectic work of managing a farm. The program has been a catalyst for change within my family’s business, kick starting conversations about our farm. While it can be challenging to have those big discussions, these workshops provided the impetus for such talks.

While the content of the program has been amazing, the opportunity to network and learn from the other participants has provided a unique learning experience all of its own. Often as farmers we tend to get bogged down in our own day to day, but being able to meet people from a diverse range of operations has been one of the unexpected highlights of the program. The Program attracted farmers growing things as diverse as sheep to ducks, from corn to cattle, as well as those venturing in agri-tourism. Some have well established, and recognised businesses and others are just starting out on their journey. But what we had in common was a passion for what we do and a drive to do it even better. Being surrounded by passionate people drives you to do more and provides an environment that encourages questions and discussion.

The Cultivating Rural Excellence Program is building the capacity of Tasmanian farmers. This program has been an invaluable experience and I am thankful for the opportunity that was made available to me through the Tasmanian Women in Agriculture.

Applications are open for the 2020 intake for the program, closing on the 10th of April. Positions in the programme are limited. For more information please contact: Sam Wedgwood on 0427 459 541 or Erin Hughes on 0428 116 733

More information can be found on the website -

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