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Deakin University’s research leadership in the primary industry sectors was on display at a special forum at the Warrnambool Campus this month.
Called Lead Laugh Lunch, the forum brought together 90 women from the south west Victoria region who are involved in dairying and other agricultural businesses.
“The aim was to get together these women, all of whom have important leadership roles on their farms, so we could showcase some of the research we’re doing at Deakin, and particularly on the Warrnambool Campus,” said Sandra McClelland, Deakin’s Research Partnership Manager for Water, Environment and Primary Industries.
“We had four speakers and each one left the guests with a take home question or message about how they could help improve their health, the way they use their land, and the water on it.”
The speakers were:
• Professor Sue Kilpatrick, Deakin Pro-Vice Chancellor (Rural and Regional)
• Associate Clinical Professor Sue Brumby
• Dr Michelle Graymore
• Dr Vincent Versace
Professor Kilpatrick has an extensive background in education in rural and regional areas.
Associate Clinical Professor Brumby heads up the new National Centre for Farmer Health, a partnership between the University and the Western District Health Service.
Dr Graymore is involved in finding wasy to better use water on farms, while Dr Versace was able to show the changes in land use in western Victoria in recent years, with pointers to what might happen in the future.
The guests were welcomed by Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Lee Astheimer and then thanked for their attendance at the end of the day by dynamic farm leader, Roma Britnell, the Rural Woman of the Year for 2009 and the chair of WestVic Dairy, one of Deakin’s partners in organising the event.
“It was a day of developing partnerships, networking, exchanging ideas, of making people aware of what Deakin is doing in terms of research that can help make a real difference to farmers,” Roma Britnell said.
“Women take an active role in making decisions on farms.
“The better informed they are on the latest ideas on health, water use, land use and so on, the better the decision making.
“And given that the south west of Victoria is such an important producer of a lot of our food, what we’re trying to do is benefit the whole of Victoria and probably a fair bit of Australia, too.”