I’m Georgie Troup and I wear a few hats, which is common among most rural people. Firstly, I am a grower, as part of a family farming enterprise in the wheatbelt region of WA. We produce grain, export fodder, sheep meat and wool. Secondly, I am a Research Agronomist with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, where I lead the agronomy research program for oat grain and hay research. Thirdly, I am on the Board of the Australian Fodder Industry Association. I’m also a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (or ambo) in our community.
I’m fortunate to work with the AgriFutures Australia team on the National Hay Agronomy project. I lead a group of brilliant researchers across Australia to support the export oaten hay industry. The AgriFutures Export Fodder Program supports the National Hay Agronomy project, providing investment, guidance, and acting as a linkage between all activities that are underway in the fodder sector.
As a grower and researcher I kept asking questions that I couldn’t find answers to, there seemed to be some pretty clear knowledge gaps that needed addressing, so I got involved with the National Hay Agronomy project. I worked with growers, researchers and exporters to determine what needed to happen, and this was supported by the industry and the AgriFutures Export Fodder Program. All we needed was for someone to take the reins and run with it, that person was me.
No matter what part of the ag sector I’ve worked in, it’s always been the people and the environment that motivates me. The wide-open spaces, the kind faces, and the motivated people – all wanting to be here for the long haul; it certainly makes it a great industry to work in.
It’s hard to imagine that in 1970 women were excluded from agricultural courses when there are so many amazing women contributing to and leading the ag sector today. I have a lot to be thankful for. Most importantly it is the women who went before me and led the way. When I first entered the ag industry there were a few women, those women have continued to shine and take on leadership roles. Back then (2004+) it was likely that I would’ve been the only woman at a grower group meeting or field walk, and to top it off, I was the one leading those activities. I knew I needed to prove myself; no one knew my last name (something I was acutely aware of!), and understandably, no one should trust some ‘blow-in’ to give them advice on their multi-million dollar business.
I like to think that I’ve worked hard, told the truth, and that the respect the farming community has given me is something to be truly proud of. Occasionally I read about the gender gap, and it reminds me that there is still some evidence to support inequality – but I am confident that it is diminishing day by day. These days it’s common to have a couple of women in the conference room or the paddock, and the farmers, exporters, and colleagues aren’t judging you by your gender, but by what you contribute.
I hope that we can soon stop talking about women and men in ag, by talking about gender it enforces that there is something that separates us, and our contribution to the industry. What excites me the most, is knowing that we are moving away from the gender discussion, and instead looking at the knowledge and skills that someone can contribute.
My advice to women entering the agriculture sector: jump in, show your passion, focus and commit to making the future brighter. Get work experience, get your hands dirty and understand how the supply chain works – from the bottom up!
You’ll need to develop a strong bladder … as you stand in a paddock without a tree, with 30 men, for a few hours while you look at field trials.
All jokes aside, these days things are better, we accommodate for women, simply because women are out there being seen, and therefore being considered. The men and women in the ag sector are welcoming, and not judgemental – it really doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man, everyone is capable of running the farm, driving the truck, or doing the paddock plan – I’ve proven that!
From farm hand to CEO – we’ll be there working alongside the other men and women in our industry.
International Day of Rural Women
We have launched a hashtag #hatsofftoruralwomen across our social media channels and encourage you to use this hashtag and share the stories of the rural, regional and remote women you work with and the reasons why they inspire you.
For more information about the United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women, please visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/rural-women-day