The first of what will be a series of Paddock Talk webinars hosted by Tasmanian Women in Agriculture launched last week with panelists – John Clark from Rural Alive and Well (RAW), Caroline Brown from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), Jennifer Robinson from Sprout and Belinda Hazell, Mandy Cooper and Larna Pittiglio representing TWiA. Paddock Talk is a way of rural women continuing to connect and learn during this time while physical distancing is key to reduce the spread of COVID-19. TWiA hope to develop an avenue for people to continue to be connected and foster new links and understands within the community.
The one hour webinar covered a number of different topics and was well attended by people logging in across the state. The webinar offered an opportunity to identify challenges, but also discuss the solutions. Some of the challenges identified were:
- Businesses which supplied to restaurants, shops, farmers markets, etc. have seen a significant downturn in their sales. They have been left with product there are not able to sell through their traditional outlets. There have been significant outlay in cost to raise or grow products that now are no longer required.
- People are being isolated and the burden of caring has significantly increased for many e.g. homing schooling children.
- There are significant differences between the seriousness that different members of families, staff and contractors are taking with regard to hygiene.
- Those outside the cities not as readily being able to access delivery services for their grocery shopping.
- Accessing workers due to travel restrictions and being concerned about the movement of people across farms.
A range of solutions and possible outlets for some of the above concerns were also discussed and work shopped. Business are increasingly looking at novel and innovative ways to sell their product including home deliveries and online sales. The TWiA are also supporting innovation by partnering with KingThing Marketing to run a webinar on how to prepare your business for the online world and how to market your business. More information will be forthcoming about this opportunity soon!
The use of signage will be important to draw people’s attention to the expectations of the property. Biosecurity signage and protocols have been increasingly implemented across the agricultural sector and this will likely support the implementation of further practices as they related to COVID-19.
Agriculture has been identified as an essential industry thus practices such as harvesting, planting and movement of goods is not restricted, though the use of good hygiene and physical distancing is strongly supported. Within Tasmania those backpackers who are assisting with agricultural enterprises are identified as essential travelers so can remain in Tasmania.
It is important to acknowledge that during this time of uncertainty there will be challenges for every family. It is important for people to acknowledge and clearly name up what they need from each other. People are working with different perspectives on how they size up the risks and what might be a serious concern to one, is not considered by another. People need to be willing to discuss what they need and implement some strategies to support one another. RAW continues to support its clients via phone and telehealth, however should the need arise they will meet face to face. Rural Business Tasmania is also gearing up to support those needing to access funding and financial counselors.
Some key resources identified through the webinar included:
- For the latest information regarding COVID-19 visit - https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
- Rural Alive and Well (RAW) provides accessible and responsive support services to all rural communities. Assisting the community in response to crisis, and help in recovering or coping after adversity. RAW is able to establish structures and networks to assist individuals, families and communities to deal with suicide. - https://www.rawtas.com.au/
- Rural Business Tasmania can provide financial counselling and discuss access to the rural relief fund- http://www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au/
You can revisit this and other Paddock Talk episodes on the Paddock Talk page of this website.
You also register for future Paddock Talk episodes via our Membership and Events page.
If you would like to receive updates about Paddock Talk and other initiatives by Tasmanian Women in Agriculture you can join our FREE TWiA Network and receive our monthly e-newsletter.