Rural Edge is a state-wide, not-for-profit organisation delivering highly relevant, peer to peer learning opportunities that support primary production businesses to be innovative, competitive and profitable.
Rural Edge is very much driven by farmers, and training opportunities are for all members of the farming business…. And their community.
As Rural Edge is not a commercial organisation we do not compete with services that are already available. Our role is to provide services and opportunities that are not being delivered or are not readily accessible to Rural Edge. Our select team of staff, facilitators and Board members act as a support mechanism to get professional development happening where and when it is required.
Background: Partners in Grain was launched as a national organisation in 2001 and was managed in WA by a State Reference Group. In 2017 Partners in Grain became its own Incorporated Association; Partners in Grain WA and the national organisation wound down to transition to an Alliance model. In October 2019 Partners in Grain WA changed its name to Rural Edge.
Rural Edge Australia Inc. is overseen by a voluntary Board of Management and administrated by our Executive Manager and Workshop & Administration Coordinator.
Sandra spent her formative years in Albany enjoying a childhood filled with sport and exploring the great outdoors. While she now lives in Perth, Sandra loves to get away to regional WA in her down time.
She has had a broad career in not-for-profits and government, including 6 different metropolitan local governments, primarily working in community development, stakeholder engagement, sport and recreation, and information and lifelong learning. Sandra holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences), a Graduate Diploma of Arts and a Diploma of Project Management.
Workshop & Administration Coordinator
After growing up in Margaret River, Kirra went on to complete a Journalism Major (BA) at Curtin University in Perth. Kirra has extensive experience in event coordination, communications and administration through her previous roles at a leading WA grower group, an international property firm and a family run accounting firm. Kirra lives in Dandaragan with her partner on a potato farm.
Workshop & Administration Assistant
Brittany was born and raised in the Wheatbealt town of Cunderdin, and is now based on a wheat/sheep farm in Dandaragan with her husband and young son. Through running her own event planning business, Brittany has extensive event planning knowledge. She has also had the opportunity to work across a number of industries including mining, construction and marketing and brings a broad administrative skill set to Rural Edge.
Lucy has a strong business background and is highly experienced in financial services, business development and marketing. She has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing & PR) at Curtin University of Technology, Diploma of Agribusiness and a Cert IV internal Auditing and has worked for PwC, KPMG, the RFDS WA and AWB in management roles. Lucy currently runs a mixed farming enterprise of sheep and cropping with her partner in Arthur River.
Sam was raised on a wheat & sheep farm in the Great Southern and now resides in Mullewa on a broadacre farming property. She is passionate about building and strengthening rural communities and sustaining & progressing agribusinesses for future generations. Having started out as a school teacher Sam transferred her skills into local government up to manager level and is now happily a mother of two boys and a very active volunteer in her community who enjoys encouraging those around her to get involved.
Gemma and her husband run a 4000 hectare mixed cropping and sheep property near Munglinup, in WA’s south-east. Gemma is a Grains Research and Development Corporation Western Panel member. Gemma’s background is managing the farming systems groups, Mallee Sustainable Farming and the South East Premium Wheat Growers Association, to deliver development and extension activities. During her leadership of Mallee Sustainable Farming, Gemma accepted the National Landcare “People’s Choice” Award for the group’s work in sustainable agriculture. She is a sitting Board member of Esperance Organised Primary Producers and Southern Biosecurity Group. Gemma has a Bachelor of Agribusiness (Hons) from Curtin University, is a WA Rural Women’s Award Alumni member, a graduate of the Northern Mallee Leaders Program (Victoria) and a participant in the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.
Business Development Manager
Sue Middleton is recognized as an entrepreneur, skilled advocate and as a highly influential leader within regional and rural Australia. Sue has worked for 3 decades holding successive and extensive Board and leadership roles across all levels of industry and government.
Sue manages a consulting business AgDots that connects and generates value for businesses and organisations in Agriculture and regional development. Agdots is responsible for new partnership development and sector engagement for Rural Edge, and has successfully funded the growth strategy for the organisation since 2018.
Sue has wide reaching and deep change management experience across agricultural businesses, commodity groups and sectors, and regional and rural local communities. Sue is passionate about the future of rural and regional Australia, and has worked for their progress for her 30 year professional career.
For her work, Sue has been awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Regional Australia in 2002, awarded the 2010 RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year for Australia and Western Australia and in 2018 was inducted into the Western Australia Women’s Hall of Fame.
Jessica grew up on the family farm in Northampton and is now a member of her family’s farming business. Jessica has a Bachelor degree in Land Management from the University of Sydney and a Postgraduate Certificate in Agricultural Consulting from the University of New England. She completed the Grow Zone Mentoring Program in 2013 which focused on branding and marketing the business, and participated in the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation TRAIL course in Canberra. She is currently a producer member of the WA Livestock Research Council, and WA’s SheepsBack committee. She is very interested in technology and how it can be integrated into a farming business. She is a mum to three kids, enjoys volunteering in the community and is a strong advocate for the sheep industry.
Tamara brings experience and skills in business analysis, finance and economics to Rural Edge. She started her career in institutional banking in London and Perth, moved into equity research for a major Stockbroking firm and most recently held a Senior Economist role in Agriculture in Government. Tamara has undertaken extensive analysis on companies’ financials, business strategy, supply chains and markets across a variety of industries including the grains and sheep industries. Tamara lives on a mixed grains and sheep farm in Narrogin, WA.
Tracey Cook manages Dandaragan Organic Beef, which wholesales into the WA and interstate butcher sector and direct to consumers via online sales. Prior to taking the reins of her family business with her husband, Tracey worked as a financial journalist for The West Australian, WA Business News, the Financial Times publications in London and later managed communications and publications for companies in the resources and oil and gas sector. As well as being mum to two sons, Tracey has been a long standing board member of West Midlands Group and volunteers for numerous community groups.
Facilitator Farm Safety Workshop
Jacky lives in Williams on a broadacre cropping and sheep farm with her husband and two sons. She developed a love of learning and sharing information with an audience as a Science Communicator, working at Scitech Discovery Centre and as part of its travelling roadshow team. Jacky has worked in education as a high school teacher in Katanning, Mindarie, and Boddington. However more recently she has found herself working in the farm office, developing skills in human resources, grain marketing, accounting, and grant writing. Jacky has a Bachelor of Science, a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) and a Master of Education. She is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Agribusiness Management.
Jacky is passionate about the safety of her family, employees, and visitors to the farm.
Facilitator Farm Safety Workshop
Ruth is passionate about farm safety and has a deep commitment to the agriculture and the grains industry.
Ruth farms with her husband John at Callingiri, and has three boys who are noisy, bust and lots of fun!
Prior to farming, she worked for four years as a rural journalist and for six years in client and team management roles with AWB. In 2019 she was contracted by Rural Edge to develop the Farm Safety workshop, which she has been facilitating around the wheatbelt and online. It’s a very practical workshop and allows farmers to harness what they are already doing on the safety front and create their own system.
Facilitator Farm Finance for Performance
Kate is based on a wheat and sheep farm near Miling. Kate has a Bachelor of Education and Cert IV in Training and Assessment. On completing University, Kate took on a Training and Development role with QBE Insurance, following this she worked in a strategic role as an Operations Manager at Agrimaster for three years. When Kate moved to her husband’s property to live she worked as a Rural Financial Counsellor before having two children. Kate’s work experiences have given her a passion for empowering the individuals within farm businesses. In 2017 with the support of the subcommittee professionals, Kate developed Rural Edge’s ‘Farm Finance for Performance : Business Structure and Cashflow’ workshop and is enjoying facilitating this to farmers across WA.
Facilitator Essential Industrial Relations for your Farm Business
Danielle is the Managing Director and co-founder of ProcessWorx which was established in 2012 to provide small business with access to expertise, systems and support traditionally only affordable to large organisations.
Danielle commenced her career with the Reserve Bank of Australia after studying Economics. She has over 20 years experience in Australia and overseas working with recruitment, human resources and technology consultancies.
Danielle has provided strategic direction on people management and process development as part of management teams and in a consulting capacity. More recently Danielle has worked with Australian SMEs across diverse industries to improve their success through development of better people and process management.
Tracy is based in Esperance and manages her business, Rural Biz Assist around her young family. Tracy is a qualified accountant and also worked as a Grain Marketer for AWB prior to having children. Tracy is a BAS agent and accredited with Agrimaster, Quickbooks and Xero. The majority of Tracy’s many clients are farm businesses and she also develops and delivers her own workshops through the Esperance Business Development Centre. Tracy’s most recent project is developing and facilitating Rural Edge’s Paperless Farm Office workshop- a subject she is very passionate about. Tracy has been Paperless for about 7 years and is facilitating Paperless Farm Office across WA to set primary producers up with paperless systems.
Facilitator Managing Employees in your Farm Business & Team Dynamics for your Farm Business
Clint is a Learning and Development specialist and Human Resource Consultant with over 16 years’ experience helping with people management and leadership issues. His background includes managing a range of state and national HR programs within government, community and commercial sectors in organisations with strong service-oriented cultures. Clint has been part of the Rural Edge team since 2014 and in 2017 developed, Managing Employees in your Farm Business (Originally Being a Better Boss: Team Productivity); Team Dynamics for your Farm Business (Originally Time Management); on behalf of Rural Edge (then PinG WA) and it’s national PinG Alliance counterparts, training a network of facilitators across Australia.
Facilitator Farm Technology Workshop
Brooke Sauer is the owner and director of Intellect Ag, a bespoke consulting company providing advice to farmers, agronomists, AgTech start-ups, venture capitalists and researchers. She provides support guidance and expertise to farmers, consultants and industry on the use of spatial data and technology to improve the triple bottom line. Brooke is an agricultural molecular geneticist (BSc Ag Science, BSc Molecular Genetics). But has spent the best part of her career out of the lab and in the field focussing on agricultural technology. She has over 17 years’ experience across Australia from research, extension, consultancy and digital technologies. Combining her experience of engaging with growers and leveraging her strong relationship with researchers, consultants and agronomists, Brooke has a broad understanding of farming systems. Rural Edge is excited to have Brooke developing and delivering this course for farmers, her ability to contextualise data and technology will ensure that each participant gets a completely tailored Farm tech Plan.
Facilitator BBB (HR) and BBB (Team Prod & Time Mgt)
Tracey has over 15 years’ facilitation experience in agriculture, human resources and community development across regional WA. With her husband Rod, Tracey runs their broadacre farming business in Ravensthorpe which they established 30 years ago. Tracey is an active member of the Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network (RAIN) and was a finalist in the Rural Women’s Award 2002. As a farmer herself, Tracey’s practical implementation of HR and team management makes her a popular and highly effective facilitator. Tracey also assisted in the development of Being a Better Boss: Team Productivity & Time Management in 2017.
Rural Edge Australia Inc. is overseen by a voluntary Board of Management. Joining the Board of Management offers you the opportunity to develop statewide and national networks and contribute to the development and expansion of Rural Edge.
If you would like to join the Rural Edge Board of Management, email the Executive Manager to express your interest.
Rural Edge is a dynamic and visionary organisation which is highly regarded by farmers, agribusiness, research development corporations and government agencies. Our focus is on upskilling farm businesses to make positive changes and achieve greater efficiencies in their HR, IR, financial and office management, resulting in increased profitability.
Our suite of workshops focus on the three key areas of any farm business – People, Technology and Finance:
We are selective in our partnerships and collaborate with like-minded organisations and agencies. We know one size does not fit all and so we tailor our partnerships to ensure that value is maximised for both parties and the result is valuable and applicable professional development outcomes for our growers, when and where it is needed.
RSM and Rural Edge have a long history of working together to deliver business skills outcomes to farmers across WA. Rural Edge (then PinG WA) first welcomed RSM as an official partner in 2018. The partnership has been extremely successful and has continued to deliver benefits to WA farmers throughout 2019 and 2020. In 2017 and 2018, RSM were important contributors to the Farm Finance for Performance (FFP) Sub-Committee and were integral in the development of the new FFP workshop. This vital support has continued throughout 2018, 2019 and 2020 with RSM accountants in attendance at FFP workshops, supporting attendees with understanding their business structures, cash flows and being available to answer general accounting questions that arise.
RSM support has also been through their sponsorship of INSPIRE in 2018 and 2020, specialised farm finance information through the Rural Edge ‘In the Loop’ newsletter; and vital in-kind support to Rural Edge through advice and meeting facilities.
Rural Edge and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) have a successful partnership which spans many years and has resulted in the development of four farm business training workshops which are now offered across Australia through the PinG Alliance members:
Being a Better Boss (HR): Managing People, Being a Better Boss (IR) Legal Obligations for Farmers, Farm Office Efficiencies, and Technology, Tips and Tables.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020 GRDC investment made it possible for Rural Edge to deliver 30 Farm Finance for Performance workshops across WA. This follows on from the successful support of nine Being a Better Boss: Team Productivity & Time Management workshops in 2017/2018 and sponsorship of INSPIRE in 2018 and 2020.
The Muresk Institute is a skills hub for modern agriculture, with a core focus to bring the best industry-driven training opportunities, knowledge and skills to the Western Australian agricultural industry. The focus of Rural Edge is closely aligned and in 2019/2020, the Muresk Institute invested in Rural Edge to deliver workshops across regional WA, including Paperless Farm Office, Farm Finance for Performance: Business Structure & Cashflow and Being a Better Boss (IR): Legal Obligations for Farmers.
Rabobank are one of the largest rural lenders with a core mission to create value for their clients, employees and the rural communities where they work. Much the same as Rural Edge, Rabobank was developed by farmers, for farmers and they have been an integral part of Rural Edge’s success.
In 2017 and 2018, Rabobank were important contributors to the Farm Finance for Performance (FFP) Sub-Committee and were integral in the development of the new FFP workshop. This vital support has continued throughout 2018, 2019 and 2020, with Rabobank personnel in attendance at FFP workshops, supporting attendees with understanding their business structures, cash flows and being available to answer financial questions as they arise.
Rabobank has also been a Summit Partner at all INSPIRE Summits – 2016, 2018 and 2020.
CBH Group’s safety vision is that we all return home safely at the end of each working day, and they are passionate about making safety a priority for primary producers. Rural Edge has partnered with the CBH Group to develop and roll out a new workshop: Farm Safety – Safeguarding your Business and People” in 2019. In addition to supporting the development of this new workshop, the CBH Group are supporting delivery of 11 workshops in 2020.
Safe Farms WA is passionate about our industry “going home safely” and like Rural Edge is a not-for-profit organisation driven by farmers. In 2019, Rural Edge partnered with Safe Farms WA to develop the new workshop, Farm Safety: Safeguarding your People and Business. Safe Farms WA staff and Board were an integral part of the workshop development Sub-Committee and also supplied valued materials and content to help make our industry safer. Safe Farms WA want to ensure the farming industry and service providers to the industry have access to up-to-date information and tools to work towards compliance with legislation and providing a safe workplace. They are therefore offering Rural Edge Farm Safety workshop participants a discounted membership to Safe Farms WA.
MLA delivers the practical results of its R&D investments by providing producers with education, training and opportunities to change on-farm practice.
MLA supports extension and training opportunities with practical information, tools and calculators to assist producer decision making, with the aim of achieving long-term productive and profitable businesses.
In 2019, MLA supported the delivery of 15 Paperless Farm Office workshops throughout red meat producing regions of WA. In addition to supporting these workshops, MLA and Profitable Grazing Systems also partnered with Rural Edge to deliver a Supported Learning Program (SLP) which is a producer upskilling program based on supported learning and coaching.
As part of Profitable Grazing Systems, Rural Edge will deliver the “Managing People for Success” program throughout 2019 and 2020. The “Managing People for Success” Program includes workshops, coaching sessions and the development of a farm-specific project to allow producers the opportunity to learn by practising, apply new skills with other producers and be involved in learning long term through coaching and peer-to-peer learning and hands-on practice.
Agworld, like Rural Edge is a trusted service provider in the WA broadacre sector and prides itself on putting the farmer first. The support of Agworld enabled farmers in WA’s eastern and central wheatbelt to be the amongst the first in Australia to access the new ‘Paperless Farm Office‘ business skills workshop.
Agworld also regularly provide Rural Edge with valuable in-kind support.
The Geraldton Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank partnered with Rural Edge in 2017 and 2018 to pilot the new workshop Paperless Farm Office, before supporting the launch with a “Bendigo Bank Midwest Roadshow” in 2018. The Geraldton Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank supported the delivery of Paperless Farm Office in Mingenew, Mullewa and Binnu. In addition to investing in the delivery, Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank personnel attended the workshop to support the facilitator and answer business questions as they arose. Following on from the success of the “Bendigo Bank Midwest Roadshow” in 2018, Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank have again supported workshop delivery in 2019. In 2019, the “Bendigo Bank Midwest Roadshow” brought the Being a Better Boss (IR): Legal Obligations for Farmers workshop to Binnu, Mullewa and Morawa.
ProcessWorx, like Rural Edge, are passionate about providing farm businesses with access to expertise, systems and support which has traditionally not been available in regional areas. In 2019, ProcessWorx became the Official Industrial Relations Consulting Partner of Rural Edge, supporting Rural Edge to deliver 11 Being a Better Boss (IR): Legal Obligations for Farmers workshops throughout 2019. Danielle McNamee, the Managing Director and co-founder of ProcessWorx has over 20 years’ experience in Australia and overseas working with recruitment, human resources and technology consultancies and is also the Rural Edge facilitator for this workshop series.
Figured understand the importance of online livestock, crop and production tracking, farm budgeting and forecasting and have therefore developed a tool that gives you accurate data in one place, real time. In 2019 and 2020 Figured have provided Rural Edge with a free subscription to enable us to quickly, easily and accurately develop powerful reporting at a glance, develop accurate budgets and forecast for the year ahead.
Rural Edge work closely with host communities, such as Community Resource Centres and local grower groups to receive on-the-ground assistance to deliver workshops where and when they’re required. Host communities and grower groups also support Rural Edge through applying for grants and co-investing in delivery of workshops which enable primary producers to attend workshops at a subsidised cost.
Farmanco work with primary producers to help grow their farm business and achieve business and personal goals. As specialists in using analytical and practical approaches to address agricultural challenges faced in management, agronomy and marketing, in 2018 and 2019 Farmanco were important contributors to the Farm Finance for Performance (FFP) Sub-Committee and were integral in the development of the new FFP workshop.
In 2018, the INSPIRE Summit Funding Partners were:
In 2016, the INSPIRE Summit Funding Partners were:
Sponsors: Planfarm, RSM, GRDC, Department of Agriculture and Food, CBH Group and Telstra.
The Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women (FAAW) operated as a national organisation between 1995 and 2016 to provide for disadvantaged rural women and to advance all women in agricultural occupations and rural communities around Australia. In 2017 FAAW wound down and gifted its remaining funds to Rural Edge to develop the first workshop in the ‘Farm Finance for Performance’ series. This workshop is the legacy of FAAW and will assist rural Australian women managing or administering farm finances to gain confidence in their role and position as an equal partner and contributor to their business.