Thanks to scholarship support from the VRWN and support from her employer Warakirri Cropping, Wimmera broad acre cropping farmer Alicia Robinson has built on the skills she developed through Leadership Victoria’s Women Leading Now program to build community, and continue advocating for farm safety.
Tell us about your background and what you do.
I have been farming most of my adult life. My passion started when I was 18 at my first job as a farm assistant on a dairy farm – from there I became a herd manager. From the beginning, I really enjoyed farming and being in the paddock, plus the mateship of living rurally and the challenges of working in a demanding physical job. From there I attended university and worked towards a Bachelor of Agriculture and Commerce. Today, I manage a large broad acre cropping property in the Wimmera in Northern Victoria, along with my husband and other staff. I am strong believer in equality, so I like to contribute to all facets of the farming business. I spend half of my time in the paddock driving machinery and assisting with the cropping programme. The rest of my time you will find me in the office doing business for the farm and assisting other farms within the company. I have a passion for farm safety and I am strong advocate for people feeling safe at work – this includes mental and physical wellbeing. I feel very lucky that we belong to a company like Warakirri that are strong advocates for equality. On top of this, we have three young daughters so I am kept very busy. My favourite place is at pony club with my girls or supporting a local event within the community.
What prompted you to apply to participate in Women Leading Now?
I initially applied for the Women Leading Now program because I wanted to challenge myself and gain some tools to assist in my career development. From there, I took an interest in developing some smaller events for women within my community focusing on agriculture – especially around safety on farm. Unfortunately Covid put a halt to any plans I had, for now.
What did you get out of the Program?
When I found out I got into the program I wrote down what I wanted to achieve and committed to applying myself 100%. The program helped me develop leadership tools that I could use in the paddock during harvest. Harvest requires you to do a lot of reflection and forward planning. You are constantly having to evaluate risks and safety, so I was able to immediately put in to practice a lot of the learnings from the program. I was very lucky to complete the program with a wonderful bunch of women who each inspired me.
Why is scholarship support important?
Scholarship support is important because it removes that barrier of having to be out of pocket. For me personally it definitely came with a sense of accomplishment. It is very humbling when a business body within your industry invest in your development and supports you. It is so important for industry bodies to be always investing in their people, for the benefit of the industry and the wider community.