Women of Liebe – Holly McFarlane

Women of Liebe – Holly McFarlane

‘Women Of Liebe’ has followed various Liebe members throughout the year to celebrate their background, involvement, goals and aspirations living in the local agricultural region. Welcome to Holly McFarlane from Ballidu.

In August 2017, we caught up with Holly to chat about her involvement in her family farming business in Ballidu, alongside her husband Paul McFarlane.

What is your background/where did you grow up?
I grew up in Geraldton and didn’t come from a farming background. My dad worked in the wool industry for 40 years so I guess farming and the weather was always talked about in our house and once I started studying finance I knew agribusiness was what I wanted to do. I studied a Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University and was lucky enough to work for Rabobank in Geraldton before transferring to manage the Rabobank branch in Dalwallinu. It was great getting to know farmers in the area and I now work for Achmea Australia in Dalwallinu providing farm pack & crop insurance. My role covers the northern Wheatbelt and takes me from Beacon to Binnu so I get to meet other farmers and learn about other farming businesses. In February last year Paul & I moved to his family farm in Ballidu and 2016 was our first season farming together. It has been a busy 18 months farming and renovating, we have loved it. I still work in Dalwallinu and commute to & from the farm.

 What is your role in your farm business?
Moral support & meals! Plus driving the odd bit of machinery that I never feel quite confident with! Paul does all the book work although we do the budgeting & finances together and I feel like we make a lot of the decisions together. I imagine I will do the book-work one day but it’s great that he is doing it now so by the time it’s my turn we are both on the same page. We attended the Partners in Grain Office Efficiencies Workshop together facilitated by the Liebe Group this year so that we each know what our office system is (should be!)

What do you enjoy most about living in a rural area?
I moved to Dalwallinu in 2011 which was very daunting as I didn’t know anyone! I still remember turning up to my first hockey training by myself-unfortunately it was near the end of the season and the team was in the finals so training had stepped up a notch whereas I hadn’t played hockey in a couple of years so you could say I struggled to keep up!! We all went to the pub for tea afterwards where I made a few friends and have never looked back. I love living in a small town where there is always someone to chat to or pop in and see and everyone does help each other out. There are plenty of groups in Dalwallinu to be involved in and you can always find someone you have something in common with. I think I live in the best place in WA.

What is your involvement in the Liebe Group?
When I moved to Dalwallinu I joined the Liebe Women’s Committee, and with my role in Rabobank was also on the Management Committee, Finance Committee and Ethics Committee for 3 years! I also presented at several events and business workshops for the Liebe Group. Since then I have remained on the Women’s Committee organising the Women’s Field Day in June each year. I also try to attend the Trials Review Day, Post Seeding Field Walk, and Spring Field Day each year.

What have you gained through the Liebe Group?
Working in agribusiness without being from a farming background certainly had its challenges. The first couple of Liebe Field Days I attended I really had no idea what anyone was talking about. By attending as many events as I can it allowed me to really grasp the agricultural issues in this area and also talking to people at these events gave me a good idea of the challenges farmers were facing and the research & trials being carried out by the Liebe Group. I have always found the Liebe staff so helpful and willing to share their time & knowledge. I remember my first year in town and Nadine took me down to the Liebe lab and poured water on different types of sand to explain soil types to me!

 Who or what inspires you?
People who have a go at things & put their hand up in the community, people who are organised & get things done… I try to have a go at different things but don’t feel very confident or organised! I recently attended the CWA State Conference and I found those ladies, of all age groups, inspiring- they sure know how to get things done! Also Paul for making the decision to go farming- finishing truck driving, selling the house and moving out the farm- it was a big decision and definitely the right one.

What are your life goals/ aspiration?
To lead a happy, social & fun life. I love meeting all sorts of people and finding we have something in common. To be involved in the Dalwallinu community and make sure I take the time to catch up with friends, even when life can get busy. I do miss ‘popping in’ to catch up with people without anything being organised, and others popping in- which is a lot easier when you live in town! So I still need to make sure to have plenty of catch up with friends in town and also farming on the other side of town!

 What is your highlight of 2017 so far?
Paul & I got married in April this year which was so much fun and the best day of my life. The best thing was having the wedding in Dalwallinu, it was so easy to book things & organise, and great to work with local businesses. Our flowers, catering, photography, decorating, hair etc were all done locally and the celebrant was a friend of ours! It really made the day special and I couldn’t believe how many talented people live in the wheat belt. Having family & friends visit our home town and the farm really topped it off.


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