West Wimmera Women on Farms Gathering 2017 attracts younger generation

HUNDREDS of farming women converged on Harrow at the weekend for the 28th annual Women on Farms Gathering.

The gathering is an annual event that moves from region to region each year.

Committee chairwoman Annette Jones said overall it was a fabulous event.

“We put on a great array of workshops and activities, which were well received,” she said.

“We had very positive feedback and comments like ‘the best ever’ warmed the hearts of our small, dedicated and hard-working committee.”

Ms Jones said the committee’s aim was to attract a younger generation of farmers to the event.

“It was great to see many young women both attending workshops and sharing their skills and knowledge by running workshops,” she said.

“The younger demographic was so noticeable that our wonderful guest speaker and Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment Kate Auty commented on how many young women were participating in this year's event compared with other years.”

Ms Jones said a highlight of the event was the ‘on the couch’ session.

“We were honoured to have Celia Scott, Jessica Mulraney, Fiona Cameron and Gurjit Sondhu on the couch,” she said.

“They shared four very different stories and the audience admired, laughed and cried as the women told their stories.

“It was a very moving experience and there was a standing ovation for local farmer Gurjit Sondhu.

“Her story raised the issue of mental health in our community.

“As a region, the lack of access to support and referral services for both men and women is a significant issue.”

Ms Jones said the Meat and Livestock Association ran a series of workshops at the Clunie woolshed in Harrow, which was well attended.

She said tours that visited Apsley, Kaniva and Edenhope were fully booked and the Maryvale Murder tour was so popular that they had to hire a second bus.

“We hope that many of the women who came from far and wide had such a great time that they will choose to return to our region with their families,” she said.