'We're not burning our bras, but we're also giving it a crack as women in a male dominated industry.'
This was the collective sentiment expressed at an Inspirational Women's Night panel event held in Ingham last Saturday celebrating local women in agriculture.
The event was hosted by Ingham based business, Grazing with the Girls (GWTG), in collaboration with the Professional Women in Agriculture North Queensland network.
Over 70 women came together at JK's Delicatessen and recognised two local identities making waves in the agricultural sphere - Kelli Carbone and Holly Sheahan.
Kelli, along with husband Santo Carbone and their two children, own and run a sugarcane farm in Ingham area.
Cattle producer Holly Sheahan, along with her husband Cody and their four children, own and operate Midway Brahmans stud. Their property, The Orient, is located at Helens Hill in the Ingham region.
The two local panellists took centre stage in a Q&A session hosted by GWTG founder, Kaitlin Venables.
The panel began with the simple question - who is your biggest role model?
Kelli praised both her mother and mother-in-law as early influences, but said her husband is now her biggest inspiration.
"My biggest role model now is my husband," Kelli said.
"I know that's probably a bit 'anti burn your bra' and all that, but my husband does so much for our family and he works so hard for all of us.
"When things need to be done, I'm happy to get in and do it to help him because I know we're just doing the best for our family."
Holly said both her mother and sister-in-law played a pivotal role in her life.
"My biggest role model growing up was obviously my mum," she said.
"She's a hard worker and has a go at anything that gets thrown at her. There's really not much dad can do outside that mum can't either.
"Both my parents growing up just taught us to get in and have a go.
"The other person is my sister-in-law, she's an inspiration to everyone. I'm very grateful to have her in our lives."
Kelli said what she loved most about her industry was the opportunity to be outdoors and build a family business.
"I love the whole spectrum of planting the cane - working the ground, planting the cane, growing the cane, milling the cane, harvesting the cane and then starting all over again," she said.
"I love being our own boss, I love having no neighbours, and I know that anything we choose is mine and my husband's decision.
"I just love the lifestyle."
Holly said she loved the lifestyle too.
"I love the life lessons it teaches our kids especially at a young age and the value of hard work," she said.
"It's also rewarding seeing baby calves on the ground all the way through to the sale ring after we've been responsible for the whole process."
Conversation flowed over the importance of both industries with feeding the nation and employment in the agriculture sector main topics of discussion.
When asked about how the collective can encourage more women to get involved in agriculture - whether born in the industry or not - interest and involvement in ag from a young age was key.
"When you're born into it that's the lifestyle you live," Holly said.
"Kids that aren't born into it, it's important to start at an early age in schools through ag-based programs and excursions to a farm or property.
"They may meet someone or learn something that sparks their interest, which might inspire them enough to pursue this industry."
Kelli said school based apprenticeships or traineeships were great initiatives.
"Social media is also a great tool," she said.
"It's getting more common for young women to be in more male dominated industries.
"Your daughters don't have the stereotype that they have to be the secretary of a business, they can be running the business or working at the business, driving the tractors or driving the trucks.
"We still need men, I'm not burning my bra, but it is definitely working out better for our daughters going forward."
Grazing with the Girls is an event planning and event equipment hire business based in Ingham.
Inspirational Women's Night are panel events inclusive of the business that allow women to come together to network and socialise.
Owner and founder, Kaitlin Venables said she had always been a social butterfly and enjoyed getting local women together.
"I love bringing events to Ingham and I think it's something different that we can all get out and enjoy," she said.
"It creates an atmosphere and breaks the stereotype that small towns aren't as positive as some may think."
The latest panel event focused on women agriculture.
"They're my favourite event to do. Just a group of women who come together to sit down and relax, have a drink, and just share stories and inspire one another.
"It's uplifting, supportive and it's just really nice to see
"I was beyond happy with the two women and I think the turn out shows how incredible these two ladies are."
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