Women in limelight at conference
WOMEN cane farmers stepped out from across North Queensland to attend the Women in Sugar Australia Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Guest speakers, industry experts and product specialists provided information about the latest technology, women's health issues and products available to them, while reminiscing on the history of sugarcane in the region.
The theme for this year's conference was 'Back to Basics' and it was held at Camp Kanga near Proserpine.
Canegrowers Network Mackay District chairwoman Barbara Walker said this year was the National Year of the Farmer and Mackay was celebrating its 150th anniversary.
"This makes a celebration of our industry, and particularly our women in the sugar industry, a very timely and worthy event," she said.
Yesterday attendees had the opportunity to visit local icons such as Whitsunday Gold Coffee, Proserpine Historical Museum and had lunch in Airlie Beach.
Ms Walker said she hoped attendees went away feeling refreshed and reinvigorated for the rest of the year.
"It hasn't been too good for the sugar industry, but hopefully this year farmers will have good crop and good prices," she said.
"Cane farming was a real old boy's entrenched club where years before women were in the back paddock, but now it is not bad for the wife to be working near the road so everyone can see her."
Cane farmers also attended a Sugar Research and Development Corporation Program regional expo at the Proserpine RSL on Tuesday. Sugar industry stakeholders attended the interactive demonstration of some of the SRDC project highlights that were showcased by top researchers.
SDRC investment manager Bianca Cairns hoped the expo gave Whitsunday growers confidence that their research and development levy was being spent on worthwhile projects.