What a jam-packed but empowering week! From business meetings and training forums, personal growth events and social outings, I am feeling mentally exhausted yet strong and uplifted. Involvement with renowned voluntary organisations and business training has released empowerment upon my own life and allowed my authenticity to flow.
Excitement with prize-winners at Wanthella Group CWA Cookery and Handicraft Day at Kootingal. An interesting day where the elite cooking skills are tested in competition by entering delicious baking at Group level, as per the state cooking schedule of the Country Women’s Association of NSW.
Our CWA branch, Tamworth Evening branch, had 22 cooking entries with 14 place-getters on the day and 5 winning entries to go to CWA State Conference in May. I received a First Prize for my Chocolate Sponge. Our branch also took home several trophies.
The Handicraft Competition displayed intricate work handmade by some very clever ladies. My friend entered her gorgeous crotchet dragonfly baby blanket and a 3-piece crochet baby set. I admire the handicraft skills of these women.
Whilst judging occurred, CWA members had the opportunity to listen to a talk about bees and honey production. The bee-keeping industry was fascinating, very informative and an interesting discussion was presented. Honey is the primary product studied by CWA this year.
My involvement with CWA makes me feel enthusiastic and passionate, as their aims resonate with me personally. I am proud to be part of a well-renowned organisation that makes a difference by improving the lives of women and their families. Personally, I also like the friendships I have developed, the knowledge I have gained and the forum provided giving women a voice to make positive changes.
Later that night, I attended a Toastmasters meeting, another renowned organisation aimed at developing confidence, leadership and public speaking skills. I delivered my second heartfelt speech reflecting upon my personal experience with this heartbreaking drought, the emotional challenges and the community support. I was awarded the “Best Speaker” award on the night, so after sharing my heart-wrenching thoughts, I felt pride that my audience was able to resonate with my words.
After I shared my personal experience, many people thanked me for allowing my vulnerability to show in an effort to connect with people. What I found… was that there are so many kind people in this world, compassionate and understanding people. Tamworth Toastmasters is a wonderful club, with a group of individuals that encourage personal development with public speaking skills, in a very supportive environment.
My husband and I attended a Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) Breedplan Regional Forum in Armidale NSW. Breedplan is a cattle industry based genetic evaluation of stud stock. As a seedstock producer, producing Hereford stud bulls, this day was very informative and provided an update and useful information for Breedplan Fundamentals. Sometimes a reminder on why we measure the traits on our cattle and how it all comes together is very intriguing. I believe we are never to old to learn and we have the ability to continue learning throughout our entire lives.
On the way back home, later that night, we attended a NSW Farmers’ Association meeting at Tamworth. An ironclad organisation that brings farmers and agricultural enthusiasts together to discuss the challenges faced and identify issues within the agricultural industry. I am proud to be a supporter of this renowned organisation making a difference in securing the future of our primary industries in Australia.
At the AGM, I ended up taking on the role of Treasurer, for an organisation I believe whole-heartedly in. In a voluntary capacity, individuals accept executive roles within prominent organisations, as a sense of pride empowers the connection to their distinguished aims and objectives.
Back to Armidale for Day 2 of Breedplan Fundamentals, to learn more about the role of genomics and DNA of our stud stock. Producing bulls is no longer just a business, it is a scientific progression of producing better livestock through DNA advancements. Over the last few years, I have found breeding cattle very interesting, as we have accepted the new technological opportunities presented to us and put it into action.
Our business is Swanvale Herefords and we focus on breeding cattle with a quiet temperament, good weight for age, carcase and maternal traits. Our fundamental aim is to produce soft easy-doing cattle with structural soundness and long deep-bodied cattle with plenty of thickness that perform well on grass. With the adoption of DNA and genomics, we have a greater opportunity to meet the needs of our clients in the livestock industry.
Drought feeding livestock eventuated at a more reasonable hour today… in the daylight hours and not quite as rushed. But then followed by personal dentist appointments and health appointment, necessary to retain our personal health and well-being.
Later that night, I enjoyed a Flavourista social event, hosted by a new friend with deliciously cooked dishes by Sarah. An organisation that blends flavours and cultures… with tantalising spices, balsamic vinegars, unique oils, flavoursome syrups and dessert sauces. I already have a few favourites and am enjoying cooking new dishes with the ease of these new items in my pantry.
Friendships and connecting with other women is empowering in itself. But sharing stories and conversation over the dinner table, brings a powerful element to enjoying the fresh food that our agricultural industry provides us every day.
A few hours in the office whilst hubby feeds the hungry livestock, before heading to Willow Tree for a Practical Systems information field day. An organisation that provides computer programs for livestock manageability, farm mapping and financial management of our businesses. The objective for the day was utilising Stockbook functionality, a herd recording software program, that can collect data, analyse reports and improve herd productivity.
With a presentation and information provided by Practical Systems, we were able to discuss issues that we would like added to the program and were able to see the program being used at the stockyards with Live Data Entry. I was able to see the opportunity we could have by making a few changes to better utilise this program at the stockyards when scanning, weighing, drafting and preg-testing livestock. The possibilities enlightened me and I look forward to better time-management with this incredible technology on the farm.
I am a satisfied user of Practical Systems software for many years and am grateful that technology has provided our business with the programs to better manage our business over the years. Stockbook is a database of all livestock that we own and have owned, that has all historical records available at the touch of a button. I use Cashbook for the financial management of our business, budgeting and accountant-based livestock trading accounts. We also use FarmMap for property mapping, paddock management, crop allocation and proposed on-farm planning. Technological advancement has provided the agricultural industry with the software to better manage our farming enterprises.
After an exhausting and mentally advanced week, I lay in bed this morning listening to the much-needed rain that finally opened upon us in the early hours this morning. The best rain we have seen on our farm for over 2 years… uplifted our spirits… giving us hope again.
The organisations in our lives that provide us with connection, training, knowledge, friendships or personal development… all have a place in our hearts and minds. These organisations do give us a sense of belonging and empowerment in many aspects of our lives.
We all need to find those organisations and businesses that meet our aspirations and grant us opportunities to improve our lives and our well-being.
Take care, Karen.
“We cannot do great things on this earth – only small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa