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21 July 2017: Business models will be the subject of a planning day for women in agriculture from Port Phillip and Western Port next week.

Women in Sustainable Agriculture, (WiSA) totalling about 60 beef, sheep, permaculture, fruits, vegetables, bees, vines and pork producers, has received support from the national Farming Together program for the day.

About 15 of the members will be meeting at Cardinia Shire offices on July 25 with the Farming Together consultant Kerry Anderson to discuss business structures for their individual ag businesses and also the overall structure of the group.

They are being led by Sarah Halligan of Port Phillip and Westernport CMA, who said: “The day will have two objectives; they will be looking at business and marketing plans for their own ag-businesses and secondly, looking at the possible structure of the group.

“All group members are currently operating independently, but are interested in better marketing practices and also the opportunities to collectively market from a particular region or for a particular product,” she said.

“The members of the group recognise a clear need to develop better support networks, and to work collaboratively with other like-minded primary producers to ensure their products are marketed to the best advantage.”

Sarah said the Farming Together program had been well-received by WiSA members who said it “related well with the ‘invisible farmer’ principles of sustainability, connectivity, community, capability and honouring the contributions and leadership of farming women of the past, in the present and into the future.”

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon (pictured) said: “The WiSA group is a good example of the way this program supports agriculture from the group upwards. The program is farmer-driven and has attracted unprecedented levels of engagement. In barely 10 months we have had interaction with 16,000 farmers, fishers and foresters across the country and across many commodity groups.”

Farming Together recently launched a free online co-op builder for groups considering forming themselves into these tax-effective structures. The simple, DIY template is available at www.farmingtogether.com.au