Rural Reflections #18

Most people believe their lives are just routine, procedures… nothing of real interest to anyone else.  But I learned something this week… that we each have our own story that others would like to visually delve into and know more about.

Farming is just a monotonous daily routine yet with complicated twists and turns to keep us at attention.  My youngest son once said… that he has chosen the farming industry because the job is not boring and involves an array of fields combined into one career path.  This is very true.

Farmers are multi-faceted as livestock handlers, vets, machine operators, mechanics, agronomists, horticulturalists, rainfall analysists, cropping experts, builders, administration databases, business marketers, distributors, financial analysists… but with a passion to bring it all together with a single focus.  Food sustainability is that focus and a very valuable asset to our nation.

Today I am sharing this photo with you that was taken earlier this week on our property… a single shot reflecting on the farming zone.  The tractor had finished cultivating a paddock several nights ago, in preparation for the next shower and was heading back to the shed for the next task of loading feed onto a trailer.  A tractor that is used for a multitude of tasks on the farm.

Rural Reflection #18…

18 The Farming Zone

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My son is driving the tractor, unaware that I am snapping photos behind him, but he is focused on the next job and thinking about what else needs to be done today.  I love his self-motivation and business perspective at such a young age.  We are very fortunate to have his passion and perspective as a part of our farming business.

Another reason that farmers are so passionate about farming… is the attachment to family and the generational interest in farming.  Family farms are often managed by multiple generations and with new farming technology, the younger generation can be involved in management.

I also like this photo with the Hereford cattle in the background, a large motivation as to what we commit to in our farming business.  Like everybody, farmers have their own individual motivation that drives them every day.  Everybody is different in their passion yet able to unite to feed and clothe our nation.

The newly erected silos in the distance depict our latest drought-proofing investment.  A building activity that both of our sons were able to physically assist with.  These silos are a reminder to me that family comes together for support when needed.  As my family concreted the silo pads, under the guidance of our eldest son, I am reminded of the important things in life… the love for our family.

Because we tend to work in our industry every day… we forget that other people find what we do interesting.  All industries are interesting to the people that are unfamiliar with them.  So this weekend I attempted my first video to share visually what a brief moment of our life entailed when preparing stud animals.  See my short first video titled Grooming Swanvale Playboy.

We all bring value to this world and unique attributes as we connect with our communities.  See the real value in what you do.  What can you share with someone else today?

Take care, Karen.

“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation,

but the only riches she can call her own.”

~ Samuel Johnson,

an Australian actor, producer, radio presenter & philanthropist.

Business Marketing is the Key to Success in The New Generation

We never stop learning, at any age, in our forever changing world.  In this digital age and the need to keep up with new technology in business, it is important to maintain and improve our knowledge of applications and marketing tools.  In this process, I attended Tamworth Community College last night for a short course,  Digital Business Basics II.

Nic Hinwood, Director of KEO Design, provided us with additional digital knowledge as a follow-on to the first course Digital Business Basics I where we had learned of branding, online tools, the importance of websites and social media for workplace innovation.  KEO Design is a leading digital design agency based in Tamworth NSW and last night gave us the online power.

As established business professionals, we learned how to compile our own “Business Digital Strategy” by identifying our audience, understanding our business marketing influences and learning to create the most appropriate content for our own business.  We were given tips for keeping on track and analysing our business from a digital perspective.

Great tools and insights for us to apply to our digital presence and marketing strategy into the future.  It is important to keep up with our changing world and the concept of marketing our businesses online.  We need to accept our world is changing and adapt our businesses to suit the digital concept allowing them to evolve.

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With a very small group of only 7 individuals, we had received personalised business advice in a welcoming space at Tamworth Community College with an enthusiastic trainer Nic from KEO Design.  I would recommend both organisations for improving your digital business marketing in this environment.

The opportunity presented itself to meet other business professionals in a variety of industries with a diverse range of digital needs and business advice for each other.  I was introduced to friendly, capable business people providing unique products and services to our local community in the Tamworth region:

  • Cookaburra’s Fine Foods – Barry, an award-winning chef, provides delicious and nutritious home-baked high-quality food at the local Tamworth Growers’ Market on Kable Avenue every Saturday morning.  A selection of mouth-watering delicacies; apple & fig strudels, piroshki, gluten-free friands, lambs fry & bacon, chia puddings with fresh fruit, sourdough, peach pies, smoked salmon & cream cheese bagels, plum & custard tarts and so much more.  Flavoursome fine foods… not to be missed… check it out on his Facebook page for updates.
  • Tamworth Remedial Massage – Sophie & Jacqui, respected caring massage therapists, promoting complete wellness through their massage therapy business profession.  Passion and purpose is the strong motivation guiding them to seek wellbeing for their clients, with regular clients endorsing and upholding the overall benefit to their massage therapy sessions.  With their massage therapy staff each having their own unique styles and specialties, appointments are adapted to suit each client.  Their massage therapy services include remedial massage, deep tissue, oncology massage, lymphatic drainage technique, cupping, reiki, reflexology or an unwinding relaxation massage.  See their website or Facebook page for more information.
  • North West Agrifinance – Sharon, with significant banking and finance experience, is a part of this finance team that offers specialised financial structure and clear business planning to achieve their clients business goals.  They use a strategy to make your finance easy by using a financial health evaluation.  Making a plan to simplify finances by providing a financial and business analysis is a valuable service they offer businesses to maintain or improve their financial security.  Their experienced team values their clients and delivers proactive finance solutions.  For more information see their website or follow them on Facebook.
  • JAMESBUILT Pty Ltd – Michelle, with her paramount of business experience in the building and construction industry, provides Building & Property Services to residential, commercial and rural clients.  A business with extensive skill, paying attention to detail, ensuring quality control, working closely with their clients as they strive for perfection.  Client satisfaction is ensured with projects completed on time and in budget.  If you are in need of an experienced builder, see their website for more information and contact details.
  • Inspirations Cafe, Gift & Patchwork Gallery – Leonie, an experienced patchworker, quilter and sewer, operates a cafe and gift shop in the main street of Tamworth.  Her business has a unique and broad range of gifts and homewares as well as high-quality patchwork fabrics.  Leonie holds classes to teach patchwork, applique, embroidery, fashion and craft… for a variety of ages and skill levels.  Inspirations has a relaxed coffee gallery with home-cooked meals and also offer a catering service.  See her website or Facebook page for more information.
  • Swanvale Herefords – My family owned and operated business located 30km west of Tamworth, breeding soft easy-doing cattle with high-fertility.  Good Hereford cattle genetics are our choice to produce animals with the most efficient weight gain for age, high-performance carcase traits and structural soundness… the essential components in our breeding program.  For more information, please see our farm business website or like/follow us on Facebook.
  • Karen Weller ~ Freelance Writing & Admin Services – My newest business venture providing writing and administration services with honesty and integrity.  I write to convey emotion and connection through my words.  I also bring clarity and organisation to individuals, businesses and organisations, through an efficient and streamlined process.  If you need inspiration brought into your articles to captivate your audience or a professionally organised document or application… please see my business website for more information or see my Facebook page.
  • Country Heart Spark – This is my personal blog where I write honest and open stories and bring insight into our personal lives and farming life.  I bring inspiration into many lives through my writing and encourage inner strength.  I also promote the future of the agricultural industry and connect all regions together in support.  You can ‘follow my blog by email’ to receive my new blog posts, see my website and like me on Facebook.

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When a group of business professionals get together, with a mutual interest of learning to improve their own use of digital marketing with an online presence… remarkable things happen.  The new knowledge, online tips and business ideas has been beneficial and we all look forward to embracing this new means of technology into our generation.  The world wide web offers us so much more opportunity to bring our businesses into the world of many more people.

Thank you to Tamworth Community College and KEO Design for making this learning experience easy and understandable to put into practice.  Sometimes we just need that little bit of encouragement and a simplified process… to have the confidence in our ability to market our own products or services that we each whole-heartedly believe in.

Take care, Karen.

“Content builds relationships.

Relationships are built on trust.

Trust drives revenue.”

~ Andrew Davis

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Launching Swanvale Herefords Website & Web Design Integrity

Our business websites hold such valuable information and are a social media marketing tool for us to share with our industry and beyond.  However, our business websites should not only be for marketing purposes… they should be a true representation of the integrity behind the business, the people representing the business and their fundamental aims and management.

Web design is relatively new to me, but I am loving the creative opportunities we have available with digital marketing.  Design and creativity is the cornerstone of my ability to create and launch our newest website Swanvale Herefords.  I feel that the website depicts our Hereford stud cattle and our farming objectives quite well.  I encourage you to take a look at our website to learn more about what we are all about.

Swanvale Herefords website

Swanvale Herefords is a family owned and operated business on the North-West Slopes near Tamworth NSW.  Our business is focused on breeding horned and polled Hereford cattle.  Our fundamental aim is to breed soft easy-doing cattle with high-fertility.

Whilst I have been in the farming industry all of my life, we were originally commercial based.  Since 2005 we have become more focused on genetics in our cattle stud and continue with genetic progress within our Hereford herd.  It is genetic progress that improves the performance of cattle and gives better opportunities to cattle producers.

Our website Swanvale Herefords is very welcoming and easy to navigate with the menu at the top.  Here you can read about our unique breeding philosophy, our on-farm management and our production focus.  There are bull sale results, photos of our stud sires and A.I. sires, as well as an overview of our female breeders.

I have included a useful resources tab on our website for cattle producers and Hereford breeders with information and links to Herefords Australia, Herefords Northern NSW Association and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).  These resources provide a wealth of information to the beef producer.

My favourite webpage is the News tab, where I can put any updated information as Swanvale Herefords is involved in any events or news articles.  If you would like to be informed of our news or happenings, please follow our page by clicking on the button in the bottom right corner.

In this digital era, our businesses have so much opportunity with technological advancement and the power of targeting our markets indirectly and without intrusion.  Our business uses the newest technology of Hereford genomics, DNA testing and Breedplan to better meet our customers needs and beef performance.

Our passion for breeding, using sires with improved genetics, is depicted in our website and our business fundamentals are revealed.  Websites are more than just advertising your business and a promotion of your enterprise.  Websites need to reveal the people behind the scenes, inform potential customers of your product or services and allow readers to understand the integrity of your business.

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I believe digital marketing is all about honesty and connecting with people.  As a stud breeder, our background in commercial cattle gives us a real understanding of meeting markets and putting dollars in beef producers pockets into the future.

I do hope you check out our new business website and feel free to let me know if you think there is something more that our business needs to offer our customers.  At this stage, my website is complete but will be added to as relevant news stories and bull sale information comes to hand.

To view my newest website, please see Swanvale Herefords.

Take care, Karen.

“Integrity is doing the right thing.

Even when no one is watching.”

~ C.S Lewis

 

 

 

How Ironclad Organisations Empower You With a Sense of Pride?

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.

MONDAY:

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.

TUESDAY:

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.

WEDNESDAY:

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.

THURSDAY:

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.

FRIDAY:

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.

SATURDAY:

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

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Rural Reflections #12

Why do we do what we do in our business or working life?  Why do farmers battle the current drought despite the significant implications upon their physical and emotional well-being?  I am here to tell you why!  Put simply… a genuine passion, a love for the agricultural industry and a determination in the viability of producing food and fibre to secure the economic future of Australia.

I was raised in a family in a rural area, with a father that had farming blood in his veins and a mother that supported this lifestyle entirely.  Hereford cattle and horses were a dominant part of our upbringing.

Then at the age when love determines our future choices, I married a man that lived for farming.  25 years later his passion is still burning… for breeding cattle.  Similarly, this genuine passion now resides with our youngest son.

This is the same scenario for many farming families… generation after generation.  This burning passion for the rural lifestyle and scientific business of breeding and trading livestock or growing commodities to feed our nation into the future.  This passion is what motivates farmers to battle the tough times of drought and rebuild following natural disasters.  The focus on the good times is what gets us through.

So for my family, we focus on times when pastures are rich and livestock are at their best production.  Financially, farming is always going to be a rollercoaster, a cycle of ups and downs according to seasons and markets.  That is something that all producers understand and are willing to embrace.

The drought has become an enormous burden for us at the moment, just like many farmers across the local region and beyond.  Without a drop of rain last month and 2mm of rain last night… we continue to find the strength to believe that one day it will break.

The remaining cattle and sheep on our property will all rely upon us a little longer… to feed them hay to meet their nutrition requirements and provide clean water.  Livestock welfare is the top priority in a drought and producers do what needs to be done, regardless of their financial constraints.  Animal health programs and biosecurity is at the core of our farming businesses, through all seasons.

Today, I would like to reflect upon the Hereford cattle industry specifically.  Although I have been involved in farming all of my life and our farming enterprises have changed a little over the years, Hereford cattle has always been at the centre of our business management.

As I attended a meeting yesterday with fellow Hereford breeders across the local region, I am reminded of the mutual passion and commitment that these producers bring to our livestock industry.  Good-hearted, kind, caring human-beings… all fighting their own battles, yet can come together, plan and move forward in our industry.

Our focus was on the organisation and planning for the Glen Innes Annual Hereford Bull Show & Sale on 25-26 July 2019.  These producers have many years of breeding genetics tied up in producing Hereford bulls, so this drought may provide a big hurdle, but the future of the industry relies heavily on ensuring production continues.

Hereford cattle are renowned for their quiet temperament, excellent feed conversion, high fertility rates, hardiness and growth rates.  Cattle producers across the nation, value the effectiveness of Hereford cattle for productivity, performance and manageability.

As 3rd generation Hereford breeders, our primary focus for the last 25 years has been breeding commercial Hereford cattle with the introduction of stud females purchased in 2005.  Our business is Swanvale Herefords and our enterprise focuses on breeding both horned and polled Hereford 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.  We also focus on producing cattle to perform well on grass, to ensure that they will perform well in any herd under any conditions.

Today I share with you, this photo… that truly symbolises our passion in this business.  It was taken back in April 2017, in a good season.  It shows young Hereford bulls relaxing on the green pasture and contently growing to become future sires in the industry.

Rural Reflection #12…

12 Young Hereford Bulls Relaxing On The Green

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I love this photo for the contrasting colours and the representation it brings to our business.  The docility of the young Hereford bulls as they contently watch us drive on by.  The rich red colour in their hides and the clean white faces giving them all a unique look.  They lay upon the green flat, comfortable and at ease.  The blue sky above with its pure white cloudy ornamental pattern… makes this photo very appealing to the eye.

The science of using our breeding genetics to produce the type of animal, that will benefit other producers herds and increase their revenue… is the motivation behind our business.  It is this passion that all Hereford breeders possess and a desire to improve the bottom line for all cattle producers.  The Hereford industry uses genomics and DNA technology in the breeding process and production of their animals.  This technology gives us genetic merit and ensures the performance of Hereford cattle into the future.

Although the season is dim and our hopes are limited, we know that the future of the livestock industry must be sustained.  As Hereford producers breeding future stud sires, there are years of genetics and work input to produce these efficient animals.  We must look beyond the present situation in the effort to continue our production for the future of the livestock industry.

For more information on Hereford cattle, see Herefords Australia.

Take care, Karen.

“Unless you have bad times,

you can’t appreciate the good times.”

~ Joe Torre