Our story stared when I came to King Island to do work exchange on a local dairy farm. I am originally from Barcelos in Portugal. I studied animal production for five years at University. I also studied and worked in Spain in Game Management. I had always dreamt of visiting Australia, expecting to stay for just six months and return home! When I came to King Island I met Tom - we have a shared passion for farming, animals and the environment. We are now happily married with two children, Alice and Lucas. We first started out with only 30 head of on agistment cattle in 2008 in a lease block, and with a lot of hard work, and really focusing on a shared vision - we have built up our numbers and purchased more land. We call our business, Gado Management (gado means cattle in Portuguese), and now have over 1000 head cattle, with a self- replacement herd of 450 breeders. We are very strongly focused on the environmental impacts of agriculture and we are trying very hard take up on better agricultural practices, such as reducing the amounts of inorganic fertilizers applied, and understanding the benefits of soil biology and its processes for sustainable agriculture. I was part of NRWC’s 2014 Women Towards Sustainability E-Leaders Program. I was planning to start a PhD, however have put it aside for now and invested in our own farming business by running accommodation and farm tours in our farm. We used crowd funding to get our farm tour business Meat Your Beef up and running. I am also the new Regional Landcare facilitator for King Island and this is my third year in the King Island Beef Group committee. Life is busy! Having these 3 different roles and also being an active working mother of two young children, has given me a perfect sweet spot to engage with my community specifically with women. I use the farm tours to connect the wider community with agriculture. I explain how important family partnerships are in farming businesses and the respect that Tom and I have for each other’s opinions and beliefs. I tell people how our food is produced and about sustainable agriculture. As part of my Landcare role I have developed projects that create links in order to connect women and agriculture and I have been extremely successful with the number of farmers, mainly women engaged in agricultural projects and events. I feel I am on track with my goals and my fellow E-leaders participants were, and still are, a great inspiration. There are so many amazing people doing amazing things out there, and being able to know some of these stories is truly inspirational.
The connections and networks as a result of the E-Leaders Project visually represented.