The annual NSW Country Women's Association (CWA) conference hosted by the Murray group in Albury ended last week after five days of business sessions, workshops, displays and social events involving the 460 delegates and other visitors, and an embarrassing incident involving the guest of honour.
Armidale CWA Armidale branch secretary Pam Hulme attended along with nine other delegates from the CWA Northern Tablelands region. Armidale, Ben Lomond, Glen Innes, Guyra, Kelly's Plains and Tenterfield branches were all represented.
Of the full range of topics discussed Mrs Hulme said the biggest highlights for her were the correct labelling of food and a focus on attracting a younger set to join the CWA.
"The most interesting topic for me personally related to the labelling of meat and milk products," said Mrs Hulme.
"I think this is also the most topical item that members of our community would be interested in. We agreed that products labelled milk ought to be mammary gland products and that meat should not be the product of vegetables.
"Presently vegans and vegetarians can buy patties labelled as meat, but they are made from Soy products. The same goes with milk - in supermarkets, we can buy almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk - but they're not the products of mammary glands. Last week we passed a motion that we would lobby government to encourage that the labelling of products like milk and meat be true to their definition."
As usual, the social side of the event and the wide range of women present amazed Mrs Hulme.
"There was a collection of absolutely wonderful and inspiring women of all age," she said.
" Some have been members for sixty years, and even though they are older, they have so much to offer in terms of advice and support of the younger women coming through. The CWA is a great organisation, and we are supporting the formation of CWA groups for younger women."
Mrs Hulme travelled with fellow Armidale branch members Emmie Forge and Ruth Blanch and said on the way home from the conference the three of them agreed that the youth recruitment drive was something they'd like to take back to their branch.
"In Armidale, our meetings are held on a Thursday afternoon which just doesn't suit the working girl. But we wouldn't change that time as that may not suit the older ladies. I anticipate that a sunrise or sunset group would probably suit the younger women better and that would be a separate branch, but both branches would support each other."
Murray group president Genevieve Knobel said the focus on the egging of Prime Minister Scott Morrison by a woman who was not a CWA member on Tuesday soon dissipated.
"I don't think it had a major effect on the conference, it was just more of a disappointment," she said.
A face-to-face invitation eight months ago helped bring Mr Morrison to Albury for last week's event.
Mrs Knobel broached the subject when Mr Morrison visited the Border last September.
"I asked him boldly then would he come and he said he'd love to," she said.
"Once the election date was fixed, I didn't think any more about it, I didn't think he would be able to come, so it was a big surprise."
New state president Stephanie Stanhope, of Bega, who was elected on Wednesday, said the CWA needed to maintain its links with state and federal governments.
"We are seen by political parties as being an influential and a powerful lobby group," she said.
"What we are lobbying for, to me, just makes sense.
"And as I've got to know more and more people, members around the state, I'm just realising all the time what an absolutely marvellous group of women belong to the organisation."
Ms Stanhope said many of the motions put up by individual branches resonated among members, for example seeking clarity about drought assistance schemes.
"Basically in a rural area, if the farmers aren't supporting a local business, businesses fail as well, one is dependent on the other," she said.
Another motion called for tighter regulations on the use of drones, which could be sent over farms by others.
"Yes, there are legitimate uses for drones, but there also can be a quite invasive effect on everyone's privacy," Ms Stanhope said.
"People need to know what the rules are and what the limits are and stick to them."
The conference voted to request the federal government hold an independent inquiry into the green field routes and funding for the inland rail project.
Mrs Knobel said the CWA wished to contribute to an ongoing discussion on proposed routes.
"They really need to revisit that in as much as the topography and geography, because there are areas where it's going to be going through very flat areas, which are subject to flooding," she said.
"If they're going to build up for a rail line, that water will be coming back into properties and causing quite a bit of destruction."