Whether working SEPWA or on the farm, as a Fire & Rescue Service Volunteer, playing hockey or training for her next ultra marathon, Gemma does it with passion, enthusiasm and energy.
Growing up in the south east of WA, attending boarding school, undertaking a degree at Muresk Institute of Agriculture then working in the agricultural industry has given me some amazing opportunities to meet inspirational people.
Our roles as members of the rural community are constantly evolving and we can learn so much from people that we meet along the way.
Since my appointment as the Executive Officer of the South East Premium Wheat Growers’ Association (SEPWA) in November 2006, I have been greatly involved in the future direction of the grains industry in the Esperance Port Zone and the work that we do influences the grains industry in WA. The South East Premium Wheat Growers’ Association is a non profit organisation established in 1993 to improve the quality of grain produced in the Esperance Port Zone and is one of the biggest grain grower groups in Australia.
One of the key components of my role is to increase the participation of women in the grains industry. This has been achieved by mentoring other women and providing events to everyone involved in the farm business on topics such as farm business management, succession planning and grain marketing.
My vision for rural Australia is to have a strong network of regional communities working together to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Primary producers will be internationally recognised for their consistently high quality products and there will be strong linkages within the barley supply chain. For example, Esperance farmers will have knowledge of what businesses require in terms of characteristics of their products. Greater knowledge of the expectations of malting houses will assist farmers to tailor their product to meet the market’s needs. I have been working on strengthening communication links between people in the barley industry and looking forward to meeting more of our end users in the future.
In addition to my role with SEPWA, I am actively involved in my family’s farm near Munglinup which is 60% mixed cropping (wheat, barley, canola) and 40% grazing (merino wool and prime lambs). I have worked in the family business for a number of years on a fly in/ fly out basis and have taken a more active role since returning the area.
I enjoy being involved in industry organisations and rural communities. Since July 2007, I have been the WA Chair of Partners in Grain and was elected National Vice Chair of Partners in Grain in August 2010.It is our responsibility to use passion, enthusiasm and energy to meet the challenges and find opportunities. Think about how it could benefit your group and organisation then grab it with both hands.