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Erin's niche beyond farm gate

Countryman
Camera IconErin's niche beyond farm gate Credit: Countryman

A phone call from a complete stranger 12 years ago marked the beginning of Erin Gorter's involvement in agriculture beyond the farm gate.

Erin, who farms with husband Thys, runs a mixed enterprise including prime lambs, perennials and cereals.

The caller rang to ask Erin to join the Sustainable Grazing Systems committee, an initiative of Meat and Livestock Australia.

Being asked motivated Erin to get involved with something new.

"From then, my biggest lesson and message to people, especially women, is if someone thinks you can do something, you probably can," she said.

"And in doing so, surround yourself with people who can mentor you - you can't achieve everything by yourself."

During four years with the committee, Erin was elected vice-chairwoman and chairwoman and was facilitator for a short time.

Now Erin is executive officer of high rainfall zone grower group Southern DIRT, executive officer of Evergreen and a board member of the WA Meat Industry Authority.

Other roles included chairwoman of WA Q Lamb, a grower-owned, nationally-renowned, non-profit alliance that guarantees eating quality.

The group was the first to bring together all sectors of the supply chain to make lamb a quality meat of choice by consumers.

At Evergreen, during Erin's time as chairwoman, the group almost doubled its membership to 600 and was successful in receiving the largest single amount of money for a project in the first round of 2009 Caring for our Country funding.

The committees Erin has been involved in focus on research and development, extension and provide a State and national perspective of agricultural and environmental issues.

"One of the most exciting parts of being involved in off-farm activities has been meeting people from across Australia who share a passion for achieving goals for agriculture - it's been inspiring and humbling," Erin said.

Last year Erin was runner-up in the WA Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women's Award and was mentored as part of The Grow Zone program.

And with a dedicated office on the farm to help with multi-tasking, Erin Gorter Enterprises has been established offering business management and events planning in rural areas.

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