Born in Albany in the late 70s, Belinda is the eldest of 4 children. Belinda grew up as a “townie” in Beverley with her siblings and her mother. Small rural town living as the child of a single parent wasn’t particularly easy but she found solace in the regular visits to her Grandparents farm which led her to fall in love with life on the land and decide to pursue a future in this Industry.
Belinda recalls fondly her grandfather who played a big role in her life “he didn’t see gender, he just saw willing and able people”. It was her grandfather who taught her she could and she never imagined women would be treated any differently in Agriculture until she was much older and already hooked.
Belinda credits corporate farming for taking a chance on a town girl in beginning stages of her farming journey, being only one of a few in the district in the mid 90s to work on SK Kidman property ‘Neds Corner’ as a jillaroo. It was during this time she learnt basic stockwork, water, fencing and remembers sending golden coloured sheep across the hills after shearing and backlining with Eureka Gold.
A second job with the McVays on their cattle property including a feedlot included early morning musters, doughy brown eyes and wet noses of calves, tractor driving and more fencing followed by chaser bin driving one harvest for another Esperance Family.
It wasn’t until her relationship with now husband Deon that Belinda really hit her stride achieving personal goals such as learning to crutch in a cradle and the ‘piece de resistance’ driving a harvester.
Belindas’ roles have constantly evolved over the last 22 years to accommodate the changes that having a family brings. Belinda is responsible for the partnerships paperwork including all grain marketing but she also loves being in the sheep yards.
As a farmer, she constantly battles to reduce the mortality rates, particularly in lambing ewes and weaners. Adopting best practice management tools to prevent mortality has helped improve these rates, however there is still room for further improvement.
Belinda believes the industry is facing a number of challenges as society’s attitudes and perceptions evolve in regards to animal farming and accept a certain level of responsibility to change with it. Opportunities in using sensors and movement technologies could be the next management tool to take welfare and lamb survival to the next level.
As her youngest children have become more independent Belinda decided to take on a challenge not only to herself but to the wider industry, which led to her winning the WA Agrifutures Rural Woman of the Year Award for her innovative project implementing a new network system and importing tracking collars that give real time data on her sheep anytime of the day from any location via her mobile phone.