Sixty-five women from rural New South Wales say they’re ready to make a difference in their communities after graduating from a new leadership and professional development course for the cotton and grains industries.

The Generating Regionally Outstanding Women (GROW) course is a professional development and leadership program for regional women. It works to boost the participants’ leadership, management, communication, and networking skills, as well as provide tools to improve Work Health and Safety and staff management in their businesses.

Specialist Trainer To Help Grain and Cotton Growers Get 'Board Ready'

A specialised training program designed to give New South Wales’ grain and cotton growers the skills to manage a meeting or take on board positions has been developed and will be delivered by one of Australia’s most successful regional business women.

The governance training program is being offered by Tocal College under the AgSkilled initiative.

Ask an Expert at AgQuip

“Grower feedback regarding GRDC involvement in the Commonwealth Bank AgQuip Field days and the GRDC-NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) breakfast on the Wednesday morning has been very positive, so this year we are increasing our engagement by offering information about relevant industry issues at our stand for the whole three days,” Mrs McDonnell said.

“Both Phil Burrill and Claudia Vicary will be making regular presentations during the day from the GRDC site at i24b and will also be available to talk directly with growers.

“We believe these experts will complement our annual GRDC-NSW DPI breakfast event, which is open to all growers, agronomists and industry stakeholders, who are keen to hear the latest, timely research and development.”

Growers To Receive Agribusiness Skills Boost Thanks To New Training Courses

“Our growers largely operate family-run enterprises, and for them, the opportunity to enrol in practical business training, contextualised to suit their farm businesses, will ensure their operations continue to run sustainably and efficiently.”

The On-farm Business Management course will include training around developing and operating computerised accounting or bookkeeping systems, managing payroll, superannuation, budgeting and business tax and GST compliance.

Innovative Training Has Key Role in Improving Farm Safety

“The key responsibility for farm safety rests primarily with individual farmers, farm families and farm workers, so we need to improve their knowledge, understanding and implementation of practical safety solutions to reduce the risk of death, injury and illness,” AgSkilled Coordinator Claudia Vicary said.

Personal And Professional Development Opportunity For Women In NSW

“It is a challenge to get away for two days at a time, but it is also difficult and time consuming to source information on these topics yourself, so taking two days to attend the course was a more efficient use of my time. The quality of information I took away made all the effort and prior organisation worthwhile.”

Research Backs Bright Future For Employment In Australia's Cotton Industry

"It is exciting to contemplate the near future of Australia's cotton industry as one of growth and opportunity, particularly for young people. Our sector has traditionally been open to outside expertise, and we would welcome some fresh faces who could bring their own experience into the mix."

"Cotton Australia, and other organisations in the industry, runs many programs designed to foster young leaders and grow the number of people entering the cotton workforce."

Advanced Spray Training Courses And On-Farm Help for Southern NSW Growers

GRDC Northern Panel Member Roy Hamilton is encouraging growers to attend the training courses to ensure they stay up-to-date with the current best-practice spray application methods.

“As growers, we need to be informed about how we set up our equipment as one set up of speed, pressure and volume will not suit all chemicals or different environment conditions,” he said.

“The hands-on aspect of this course will help growers fine-tune their skills in setting up booms to suit different situations and environmental conditions.

“Growers will also be assisted to develop customised spray management plans to reduce the risks of off-target application when spraying and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their spray practices.”

Soil Fertility And Plant Nutrition Course For NSW Advisors And Growers

“This course will give growers and advisors the skills and criteria needed to assess the adequacy of their own soil and the ability to determine what rates and types of nutrients they might need to use to improve productivity,” Mr Dowling said.

“Having the ability to assess your own soil chemistry and understand particular nutrients and other constraints that can limit soil fertility and crop productivity, will help growers make more informed decisions and guide on-farm practices."

Advanced Spray Training Course Dates Released

“To ensure applications are on-target, applied safely and used in the most effective way, it’s important growers understand how elements like nozzle type, droplet size and spray quality, tank mix formulations, water quality and weather conditions can impact application,” Mr Day says.

“Together the workshop and on-farm visit will see growers develop customized spray drift application plans. We will fine tune their operations, to maximise the effectiveness of chemicals.”

Forklift Safety Blitz In NSW - Get Your Licence Through AgSkilled

Did you know that you need a High Risk Work Licence to operate a forklift on your farm? SafeWork NSW Inspectors will be undertaking a forklift safety blitz 5-9 March to secure compliance, raise awareness and help control the risks associated with forklifts and may issue on-the-spot-fines.

Bringing Training to the Ag Industry

Part of the AgSkilled brief is to deliver industry-identified, accredited training to regional and rural areas, with courses ranging from drone operation to integrated pest control, welding, basic machinery maintenance and commodity marketing.

“AgSkilled is committed to bringing the training that employers, employees and those keen to get a start in the agricultural sector need, to regional and remote areas that may not have offered these learning opportunities in the past,” Ms Vicary says.

“The program is about driving the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of the cotton and grains industries by developing a workforce capable of managing current and future challenges.”

Training Vital for Agriculture

Grower Josh Walker believes training and keeping skills and knowledge up to date is vital for those working in agriculture.

The 28-year-old manages a 400-hectare mixed-farming operation, ‘Valley of Springs’, for his family on the outskirts of Cowra, in central west New South Wales.

While escaping the day-to-day demands of farm work may take some planning, Josh says, it is important to keep informed through industry workshops and other learning opportunities about best-practice changes and improvements in items such as chemical spray application.

He recently completed an advanced spray-application course delivered through Tocal College as part of the AgSkilled vocational training program.

New Course Offers On-Farm Help with Spray Gear

GRDC General Manager Crop Protection Manager Ken Young said grain growers were increasingly aware of the need to ensure on-farm spray equipment was set-up and operated to suit environmental conditions to reduce the risk of spray drift.

“Herbicides and pesticides account for up to 30 per cent of the variable input costs of grain production, so growers are committed to ensuring spray operations are effective and that drift is minimised to save money and time,” Dr Young said.

“So programs like the Advanced Chemical Spray Application Training course provide growers with an opportunity to hear the current best-practice guidelines for spray application success.

“Then having a specialist in spray application come to your farm, as part of the course, and show you exactly how to set up your own equipment for various environmental conditions, and develop spray drift management plans customised to your operation is something I believe growers will find invaluable.”

Growers Offered Precision Agronomy Courses

There is a lot of talk about precision agriculture, but what does it mean and how can growers get a piece of the action? A hands-on precision agronomy course could be the ideal place to start.

A Precision Agronomy Training course is being offered by Tocal College through the AgSkilled program, a training initiative being led by the New South Wales Government, in conjunction with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Australia.

Women's Rural Workshop in Narromine

Women's rural workshop in Narromine

By Ginni Brown.

Local News

The first in a series of three workshops was held in Narromine on October 19 and 20 as part of the “GROW” (Generating Regionally Outstanding Women) program. 

This was funded through the NSW state government AgSkilled Program. 

The aim of the program is to develop personal and risk management skills for women in the cotton and grains industries, and results in participants achieving nationally recognised units of competence which can be used towards Agriculture qualifications.

Fifteen women from Narromine, Dubbo , Nyngan, Coonamble, Warren and Geurie attended the work shop at Soul Food convened by Rebecca Fing Tocal College and House Paddock Training and Consulting, and with Pip Job and Vicki Magann from the Department of Primary Industries. 

AgSkilled Kicks Off With Drone Training

“It was some of the best training I’ve ever done – the training covered the essentials of drone operation and included some very pertinent practical tips for when using the technology and analysing drone data,” Michael says.

“The training was very valuable for the researchers here and we can all see the potential to use this technology in the future.”

Learn About Rural Training Opportunities at AgQuip

If you are involved in the grains or cotton industry and are keen to hear more about the AgSkilled training opportunities and how they could benefit you or your employees catch up with Ms Vicary at the AgSkilled stand at the Commonwealth Bank AgQuip Field Days in Gunnedah on August 22-24.

The AgSkilled stand will be located within the GRDC stand at site i24b for the duration of the field days.

Grower Input Vital To Identify Farm Training Needs

GRDC Senior Regional Manager, North Jan Edwards said the AgSkilled survey was a unique and important chance for growers to express their on-farm training needs and help identify genuine skill shortages.

“The right training can be the difference between success and failure on-farm and in business,” Ms Edwards said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a farm owner or a farmhand in agriculture, like any industry, you need the skills to match your role, whether that’s basic machinery maintenance or commodity marketing.

“This survey is about identifying what skillsets we need at farm level to ensure our grains businesses have the capacity, training and knowledge to be enduring and profitable into the future.”