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Our rural communities thrive thanks to the people who put their hand up to volunteer, and Queensland's Sally McGilvray is one of those selfless, can-do women contributing to the vibrancy of the region.
Passionate about supporting the industry
Together with husband Angus and three children Molly, Lucy and Mac, the family run Womblebank Cattle Co, a 24,000 hectare beef breeding property located between Mitchell and Injune.
The enterprise also includes beef growing properties at Hannaford and Moonie, and despite running a significant operation, Mr and Mrs McGilvray continue to prioritise giving back to the community, and industry.
With her accounting background, Mrs McGilvray has volunteered as treasurer for numerous committees in the Maranoa region over the years, including The Isolated Children's Parents' Association, Charleville School of Distance Education, the local Tooloombilla Rodeo, Injune Tourism, and LifeFlight Roma Advisory Council.
"We're both passionate about the ag industry, and ensuring the beef sector is sustainable and profitable," Mrs McGilvray said.
"We're in this for the long haul, and value supporting the industry and community that's been so good to us.
"It's the people and communities that give the bush its unique spirit, there are many people making our region a better place - it's rewarding to be a part of."
Maximising the Rabobank Community Fund
Mr and Mrs McGilvray now have further opportunity to support the region, having recently joined the Southern Queensland Rabo Client Council.
The Rabo Client Council network consists of seven volunteer, client-led councils, working hand-in-hand with the bank to develop and deliver meaningful grass roots initiatives, and prioritise where funding can make the greatest impact.
Support is directed around key themes, including ag education and building industry capacity, and helping drive rural/urban connection.
"One of the beauties of the Rabo Client Council is that it aligns so closely with our own community values," Mrs McGilvray said.
"We can give feedback to the bank on behalf of clients, we can listen and learn about issues that are important to our area and industry, and recommend key initiatives that will support the community."
Grassroots initiatives making an impact
Inspired to join the Rabo Client Council after attending a Rabobank Mini Masterclass in Dalby, Mr and Mrs McGilvray have embraced the opportunity to help upskill their fellow locals.
"We attended a Rabo Client Council Financial Skills Workshop in Mitchell and it was fantastic - even with my accounting knowledge I learnt so much in regards to the practicalities of farm specific accounting," she said.
"The enthusiasm from the attendees was so rewarding, and the workshops are a wonderful opportunity for our ag industry to gain valuable, practical skills, delivered locally.
"Now the season and markets have turned it is important to have these financial skills to make informed decisions, with the networking opportunity also very beneficial."
The National Association of Agricultural Teacher's Conference in Toowoomba was another highlight, providing an opportunity for ag teachers from across Australia and New Zealand to visit working farms and rural innovators.
"We had no idea how many ag teachers had never been to a farm or learnt to teach ag, and that many schools don't offer ag, so this is a terrific opportunity to support our teachers to showcase and promote the opportunities in ag confidently," she said.
Forming global networks, and friendships
The McGilvrays were one of the families who opened their farm gate to a group of American producers on this year's Rabo US Cross Commodity Tour.
"It was wonderful to welcome 40 American clients onto our farm, and Angus spoke candidly and openly about our operation, which facilitated further thought provoking conversations about farm businesses, locally and globally," Mrs McGilvray said.
"We were excited to reunite with the group again at the Rabobank Farm2Fork Summit in Sydney a few weeks later, like long lost friends."
In fact, Mr and Mrs McGilvray's daughter Lucy, 23, is currently travelling through the US, visiting and working on a number of the tour participants' beef ranches and operations.
"She's having an amazing experience, and gaining so much insight into the US beef industry, and she's been welcomed with open arms - all thanks to the global Rabobank network," she said.
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