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International Women's Day

March 6, 2019


International Women's Day

This International Women's Day we spoke to RB Sellars ambassadors Anika Molesworth & Darcy Robinson to learn more about their roles within the Australian agricultural industry.

Meet Anika

Speaker, educator & researcher for agriculture development.

What is your role within the Agricultural Industry?

I have a fabulously varied role in agriculture. I split my life between my family’s arid outback sheep station in Far Western NSW, my PhD crop trials in Griffith NSW, and lush green rice paddies in Southeast Asia working as a researcher in international agricultural development.

What made you decide that working in the Agricultural Industry was for you?

When I’m walking down our farm’s dry creek bed late in the evening with family and our kelpie dogs – the skyline is apricot pink and corellas are taking up roost in the old River Red Gum trees – I feel a deep sense of belonging. That I am part of this landscape and it is part of me. It brings me comfort and inspiration in everything I do, and a deep sense of pride that we are caring for this land and producing food for our community. I couldn’t imagine working in any other industry but agriculture!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Morning run with the dogs past kangaroos grazing and watching the sun rise over our farm’s hills. Then to the stables to give hay to the horses, let the chooks out, and feed the goose, duck and guinea fowl. After brekkie, I am at the computer where I put in some solid hours writing up my PhD thesis. This involves reading journal articles, processing crop data and writing up chapters. In the afternoons I usually am on the phone, either for committee teleconferences or often chatting with radio or newspaper. I do a lot of work in science communication and sharing stories from the land. There is so much go on in the agricultural industry so it’s great to be able to get these stories in the media for others to learn about our industry. In the evenings when it’s a bit cooler I go check on the sheep troughs and general inspection of fences and livestock.

Overall, what is it like being a woman in the agricultural industry?

Fabulous! There are so many strong, kind, creative women in the agricultural sector, and I feel privileged to work among them. What excites me about agriculture is that there are so many opportunities – really any job you can think of, there is a career for it in the agriculture – engineer, mechanic, scientist, veterinarian, book-keeper, banker, agronomist, policy advisor – women play so many varied and important roles in this industry!

What is the hardest part about being a woman in the industry?

Perhaps in the past, it was difficult to connect with other rural women – communication services were not as advanced in really remote places. But now it is becoming much easier to connect with other rural women. You can have online video chats, read about their stories in online magazines like Graziher, participate in rural women projects like Ag Women Global, live remotely but still get involved in groups like Australian Women in Agriculture.

What is the best part about being a woman in the industry?

People are genuinely interested to hear our story. There has traditionally been a strong male presence in agricultural media, but that is changing. Women are becoming front and centre of articles about farming and rural living. People want to hear from us, and that is super exciting because now there are welcoming platforms to share our stories, our ideas and our visions for the future of this industry.

What would you like to change in regards to the agricultural industry?

I’d like to see more coordinated and scientifically-backed strategies to help farmers manage changes being experienced with the climate. We’re getting hotter temperatures and lower rainfall on our farm, and it’s projected we’ll get longer and more intense droughts in the future. This means on our farm we are actively looking at how to better manage our vegetation and livestock within these changing climatic conditions. I’d like to see more investment in research and the development of technologies and practices that reduce on-farm emissions and help us better manage our natural resources.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #Balance for better. Balance drives a better working world for men and for women. What does balance for better look like to you in your area of work?

For me, balance is about working as a team, knowing when to ask for help or offering help to others. It’s not being afraid to say “I’ve got too much on my plate, I need more me time” or if one sees a mate under pressure, being able to step up and ask “how can I help you get through this? ”On our farm we all share the chores and help out where we can, from fencing jobs, water-runs to cooking dinner, it’s about fairness, balancing the workload, and looking after one another. 

Find out more about Anika's work here.

Meet Darcy

Agricultural industry advocate, farmer & all round top bloke.

What is your role within the Agricultural Industry?

I am a machine operator in a large contracting business in Lismore Victoria. My family also have our own farm, which I work on weekends. I have my own Business online with Instagram as an influencer for large brands around the globe advertising and promoting their products in agriculture and together making the Agricultural industry a better place to work! @farming_ag_photos

What made you decide that working in the Agricultural Industry was for you?

From a young age, I loved the lifestyle of getting up and doing something different every day! Farming is one of the only jobs where you have a large variety of jobs on a daily basis. Whether that’s fencing, tractor work, sheep work, working with cattle or doing vehicle maintenance every day is different and it never gets boring!

Do you think there has been an increase in women within the agricultural industry in recent times?

There has definitely been an increase in women in the agricultural industry! Many jobs such as agronomists, farm hands, machinery technicians and even shearers have been taken up by skillful women! Our current shearing team has over half women!

Has this changed the industry for the better?

This has definitely changed the industry for the better. It’s fantastic having women on the farm. They tend to stay more focused on the task compared to men and they bring many new skills and ideas to the industry that have progressed it majorly.

What is the best part about having more women in the industry?

Women are much more patient, pay more attention to detail and are better problem solvers and bring a different attitude and approach to the industry. They also bring new ideas that otherwise would not have been thought of by men.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start work at 8 am. As I work for a harvesting/seeding contractor lots of the work is driving machinery or doing maintenance on the equipment. Usually, I have a 1-hour break for lunch and travel into the local town for a burger and drink. After lunch, I head back to work until 5 pm. Once work is over I travel back to the home farm and help my family with whatever work is on the go at the time, however, I do not do this every night for the travelling! Once finished there I go home to my home town of Ballarat, sleep there the night and get ready for work the next morning!

Overall, what is it like being a guy in the agricultural industry?

Being a guy in the Agricultural industry is great! It’s fantastic to work with many people of the same gender on the farm and at times off-farm. What makes it unique though is actually working alongside women. I’ve learnt a lot working with women, they have a completely different view on everything you do. Whether that is drafting lambs, erecting fences or driving machinery. I find it beneficial having women in the workplace on the farm as they always see things differently to us males. Usually much better at solving problems with their brains too!

What would you like to change in regards to the agricultural industry?

There’s not much I would push to change, however, it is changing rapidly as we speak. We are seeing women in all roles including management. There are women working at the highest levels of management, which 20 to 30 years ago we would never have thought of happening. I think this is very important!

Check out our Instagram stories today and hear more from Anika and Darcy while we celebrate International Women's Day. #BalanceForBetter.

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