Rural Women's Award

Rural Women's Award

Award Overview

The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s pre-eminent Award for rural women. The Award identifies and supports emerging leaders and change agents who have the capability and resources to drive innovation, productivity and sustainability within primary industries, and build economic and social development within rural communities.

The Award acknowledges that women offer a unique approach to leadership, which involves connecting and collaborating to effect change and influence, often without the need for position or authority. The Award also encourages primary industries and rural communities to embrace diversity in leadership to successfully navigate future challenges.

The Award supports women with demonstrated leadership capabilities, or leadership potential and community contribution, who have the desire and commitment to make a greater contribution to their industries and communities. It provides women with financial and professional support to implement their visions for primary industries and enhance their leadership capabilities.

Each State and Territory winner will receive a $10,000 financial bursary to implement their Award vision. Each State and Territory winner will have the opportunity to participate in the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course and will be supported to develop an individual integrated leadership plan.

The Award is an amazing opportunity to further your leadership development, make a tangible difference and inspire others. The Award is a life changing experience that will link recipients with a positive and powerful alumni network of like-minded women across the country who are passionate about primary industries and rural Australia.

Download the Award brochure

Who can enter?

The Award is open to all women involved in primary industries and/or rural Australia. No formal qualifications are required. Potential applicants can express their interest through the Expression of Interest process and gain access to mentors and feedback whilst undertaking their applications. 

The application process alone provides a leadership development opportunity for applicants to focus their passion

What is the bursary?

The $10,000 bursary is the major prize for each state and territory winner and provides the resources to develop each state and territory winner’s vision into a project or initiative that will benefit primary industries and rural Australia. The project or initiative may contribute to key Award areas including:

  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Community sustainability
  • Education
  • Productivity
  • Agribusiness
  • Regional development

The bursary can be used for formal training in leadership and business management; overseas study tours; establishing business plans or pilot programs; developing educational or promotional campaigns; networking at forums and conferences to grow your knowledge of industries and markets; developing training programs; testing information technology initiatives and publishing books.

The bursary cannot be used for buying capital equipment (without the explicit approval from RIRDC) or further education such as a Masters or Doctorate degree

What is the AICD Company Directors Course?

The Company Directors Course is a comprehensive and credible learning program relevant to board directors and business entrepreneurs.

The course provides a thorough knowledge of the role and duties of being a board member, and knowledge of organisational performance, strategy development, risk management and financial performance, which are all critical to operating any business enterprise.

The course provides the opportunity to gain the above skills and knowledge with like minded rural women. For more information on the course, its details and commitments please visit: www.companydirectors.com.au

What is the individual integrated leadership plan?

The plan will provide 12 months of facilitated individual strategic support for each Award winner to enhance their leadership development, the implementation of their Award vision, along with networking, media and public relations opportunities.

Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest process aims to assist applicants by providing guidance and advice around the award program and development of an applicants award vision or project. It is highly recommended that all applicants engage in this process.

How do I enter or nominate someone?

To express an interest in applying or to nominate an applicant call 02 6271 4132 or email rwa@rirdc.gov.au. Contact can also be made with the relevant state or territory Award coordinator.

Applicants will also need to complete the official entry form, addressing each of the selection criteria and include the name and details of two referees.

Referees will only be contacted if your application makes it to the final round. Email, post or fax your entry to your state or territory contact.

What is the process and schedule?

Nominations for the 2015 Rural Women's Award will open on 1 August 2014 and close on 30 October 2014.

Applicants will then be short-listed and interviewed in each state and territory. The successful applicants will be announced at formal state presentation events.

All state and territory winners will then be invited to attend the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course in Canberra.

All state and territory winners will proceed to national selection of the National RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2015 winner. This selection is undertaken by the national selection committee prior to the award national celebratory dinner.

Your responsibilities to RIRDC

State and Territory Award winners will need to sign a contract with RIRDC and at the conclusion of their Award tenure will need to submit a report on their Award activities and achievements and how the bursary was used. RIRDC will seek reimbursement of the bursary if the report is not submitted.

State and Territory RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2015 winners can expect to be interviewed by the media and where practical attend and speak at relevant public functions.

The National winner will be given an additional bursary to assist in meeting national commitments such as speaking engagements. RIRDC and relevant State/Territory agencies reserve ‘non exclusive’ rights to publish any material generated from successful applicants’ involvement in the Award.

How to Enter

STEP 1

The first thing you need to do is set aside some time to read the application form through thoroughly.

You must be involved in some way in primary industries, whether you work in broad-acre farming or intensive livestock, cropping, horticulture, fisheries, forestry, natural resource management or related service industries.

If you don’t think you meet all the criteria and are in any doubt contact your relevant state Award coordinator or the national Award coordinator (under Contacts on this page).

STEP 2

Ask how you would use the Award and the Bursary to make a difference.

 The main objective of the Award is to help you improve your business and leadership skills so you can operate at a higher level in steering the future of your industry, primary industries and in turn rural Australia.

The Award's main objective is to support women with either demonstrated or potential leadership capacities, who have the desire and commitment to make a greater contribution to their industries and communities.

The $10,000 Bursary is the major prize for each State and Territory winner to provide resources to develop your vision into a project or initiative that will support your professional development and will benefit primary industries and rural Australia.

The Bursary can be used in all sorts of ways, as long as you show how it will build a greater capacity within you and how it in turn will benefit primary industries and rural Australia.

Take time to define what you want to do with the Bursary and how you would go about it. Here are a few ideas of how past Award recipients have put the Bursary to use to get you thinking:

  • Build your leadership, business and management skills
  • Undertake an overseas study tour to grow your knowledge of innovations and markets
  • Attend conferences to grow your knowledge and networks with industry
  • Run workshops or a speaking tour in an area where you see a need and have expertise
  • Develop new value adding opportunities and markets for products
  • Write a book, a publication or an educational campaign
  • Develop new information technology of specific benefit to primary industries and its people

The Bursary cannot be used for further education such as a Masters or Doctorate degree or for buying capital equipment.

Step 3

Writing your application

Once you have read the application form thoroughly and are confident that you are eligible to enter the next step is writing up your application. This may take a few days. It is often good to get your ideas down in a first sitting and then leave it for a day or two before having a fresh look at what you have written. 

It may be worthwhile making contact with previous winners in your state or industry to gain their insights.

Contact your relevant state Award coordinator or the national Award coordinator (under Contacts on this page) to get in touch with past and current Award recipients.

Use headings

It might be helpful to begin with a rough outline under headings based on what is required. You can then jot down a few points under each heading which will get you started. Remember to address each of the three selection criteria.   

The selection criteria

Tip: Remember be specific and keep it simple. Limit yourself to what you know can be achieved in the 12 month time frame.

1.  A demonstrated personal commitment to primary industries and to the role of rural women in your State or Territory

Write one page about your personal commitment to primary industries and/or rural Australia, and ways you have supported primary industries and rural women in your state or territory.

The first criterion is asking you to write about your commitment to primary industries and its future sustainability. You will need to show how you are committed to primary industries and to rural women in your State. The key word here is ‘demonstrate’ so as well as talking about your background and your ‘philosophical approach’ you should try and give concrete examples. The Selection Committee will be looking for evidence of your commitment.

You might like to include things like:

  • Your participation in rural organisations and the benefits they have returned to your industry and its people
  • Your involvement in rural women’s groups and your understanding of the role of women in primary industries
  • The resources and effort you have put into your own enterprise/business and your industry
  • The long term commitment and involvement in your enterprise, an organisation or industry.

2. Potential to achieve and deliver benefits to primary industries (This is the most important selection criterion and will be weighted accordingly)

Write up to two pages about your vision and personal ambition for primary industries and/or rural Australia; your leadership capability as demonstrated by past experience in leadership and change agent roles; and how through the Award you will enhance your leadership capacity and contribution to industry. Also provide a basic budget on how you will spend the bursary.

Examples of costs that could be included are:

  • Travel, accommodation and meals
  • Training costs, conference and workshop registration fees
  • Consultations and networking
  • Printing, promotion and postage
  • Vehicle expense
  • Employment and childcare support

This criterion is about your vision for your industry and how the bursary will help you achieve it and how you operate at a higher level in your industry.

The Selection Committee will be looking for a clear and tangible personal vision and the dividends that vision will return through the bursary to you and your leadership capacity and to primary industries. Essentially they will want to know how the bursary is going to grow you and in turn how you will grow your industry.

So, give some thought for your vision for primary industries, if you had the resources what would you like to change or improve in primary industries today, how you could make a difference and what would be the benefits to you and to the broader primary industries.

Paragraph one

Outline as clearly and succinctly as possible your personal vision for primary industries.

Paragraph two

Summarise your experience in leadership and change management roles or your leadership potential and community contribution. It could be anything from Fundraiser at your local P and C, to member of your local Regional Development Australia or Catchment Management Committee, or initiatives or events you have effected independent of position. The Selection Committee will be looking for someone who has leadership potential and capability to enact on what they propose in this application.

Paragraphs three to five

Outline how the bursary will help you achieve your vision. You may wish to expand on what generated the idea, provide some evidence supporting the need for your vision, how it will help you be a leader and how your vision will benefit primary industries both now and beyond the 12 month period.

Paragraphs six to nine

Set out two or three objectives which focus on your vision, in other words what you are trying to achieve and what change you are trying to make.

A few examples:

  • To promote market opportunities for wool products
  • To establish new markets or partnerships overseas for olive oil.
  • To further develop leadership qualities and skills amongst women in the cotton industry
  • To develop a new rural educational program for secondary school
  • To develop a new promotional campaign to educate the urban population on primary industries
  • To write or publish a book on family farm business intergenerational issues.
  • To develop websites that promote primary industries and the rural communities they support.

Paragraphs ten to twelve

Provide a draft budget of how the bursary will be spent. Try to be realistic about costs. Do some research and get some quotes or estimates to help you plan your budget. This is an indicative budget only.

3.  Provide leadership and share skills and knowledge

Detail in one page how your Award ambition will assist you in the development of your leadership and representative capacity and how you will share your skills and knowledge to support others.

Step 4

Checking

Ensure that all the information required of you on the application form is completed and correct. You must include the name and contact details of two referees.

Step 5

Final reading

Give your application to a colleague or member of the family to read through and look for any errors or omissions. Remember that the written application form is your first hurdle so it is worth putting as much effort into it as you can.

Step 6

Send the application

Keep a copy of your application and send it to your relevant state or territory Award coordinator (see Contacts on this page). Applications for the 2015 Award closed on 31 October 2014.

Application Form

Download the application form here

The application form for the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is an interactive PDF - you can directly enter your details and answers into the application form.

It is recommended that you download and then immediately save the blank application form to your computer. That way you can make and save changes whenever you want.

The completed form can be sent via email to your state or territory Award coordinator (see under Contacts on this page) or can be completed and printed and sent as a hard copy via post to your state or territory Award coordinator.

Sponsors

The Rural Industries R&D Corporation is thankful for the support of the following Award partners:

PLATINUM PARTNER

Logo WESTPAC Agribusiness

STATE PARTNERS

Logo - Tasmanian Government
Logo NSW DPI
Logo NT Government
Logo NT Farmers
Logo PIRSA web
Logo QLD Government
Logo Victorian Gov
Logo WA Gov

MEDIA PARTNERS

Logo Fairfax Agricultural Media
Logo ABC Radio
Logo RM Williams Outback

Contacts

Each state and territory has its own Award coordinator.

New South Wales & ACT
Allison Priest
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Locked Bag 21, Orange NSW 2800
Phone: 02 6391 3620
allison.priest@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory
Tillie Morgan
The Northern Territory Farmers Assoc. Inc.
PO Box 748, Coolalinga NT 0839
Phone: 08 8983 3233
info@ntfarmers.org.au

South Australia
Rebecca Lang
Strategy and Engagement
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)
GPO Box 1671, Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: 08 8226 0465
rebecca.lang2@sa.gov.au

Western Australia
Christine Thompson
Dept of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
Locked Bag 4, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983
Phone: 0427 986 351
christine.thompson@agric.wa.gov.au


 




 

Tasmania
Rebecca Williams
Agricultural Policy Group
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE)
PO Box 44, Hobart Tasmania 7001
Phone: (03) 6233 6812
rebecca.williams@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Victoria
Samantha Longley
Dept of Environment and Primary Industries
PO Box 500, Melbourne Victoria 8002
Phone: 03 6165 3070
samantha.longley@depi.vic.gov.au

Queensland
Karyn Manktelow
Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 46, Brisbane Queensland 4001
Phone: 07 3225 2770
karyn.manktelow@daff.qld.gov.au

Related Links

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Current Winners

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Current Winners

NSW
Pip Job

2014 National and New South Wales winner - Pip Job

Pip is Chief Executive Officer of the Little River Landcare Group with a passion for natural resource management and is particularly interested in regenerative agricultural systems that have the capacity to create sustainable food and production, as well as environmental outcomes for future generations. 

She is passionate about the impact that rural life can have on farmers and has instigated changes in the way Landcare operates to include the social needs of the community. This has included the ‘Women in the Landscape’ program which fosters learning, the exchange of experiences and the up-skilling of women to become more involved in farming businesses, a program which due its success is now being rolled out nationally. Pip has been working with various Landcare groups across New South Wales to help them improve their governance and has provided planning and advice on policies, procedures and staffing.

Pip has a vision for agriculture where farming family businesses are profitable and increase the ecological wealth of the land they manage. For this to occur Pip believes farmers need to adopt a holistic approach towards the way they balance their family needs, financial management and farming practices. 

Pip will use her bursary to create a rural women’s training program entitled ‘Positive Farming Footprints’ using the principles and philosophies of Holistic Management and the Trinity of Management to create a community of women who have the adaptive capacity to manage the challenges of rural life. This program will increase the capacity of rural women to manage climate change and finance in a complex economy, as well as increase their personal resilience using a social, ecological and economic platform. 

VIC

2014 Victoria winner – Julie Aldous

Julie is passionate about career opportunities in primary industries and sees a need to provide meaningful, applied learning opportunities for students through local land management placements; the development of partnerships between schools and their rural communities; as well as the promotion and increased uptake of the myriad of career pathways in primary Industries within schools and further education. 

In 2009, Julie developed the applied learning course for Year 9 and 10 students entitled ‘Agribusiness – The Mansfield Model’ to address the need for skilled young people to choose careers in primary industries. The course utilizes TAFE Certificates, school based apprenticeships and university courses to scaffold career opportunities, with applied learning taking place within the content of local farms. The course has been very successful and has seen an increase in the participation of young women, passionate about the agricultural industry. 

Julie’s ambition is to promote sophisticated food and fibre education in schools across Australia and heighten the awareness and appreciation of food and fibre production across both rural and metropolitan communities. Julie aims to connect schools with their rural communities through the formation of sustainable partnerships so that skills and leaning in food and fibre are fostered. Julie will consult and promote her program in schools, principal and curriculum conferences; media in rural press; consultation at a federal, state and national level, through presenting and participating at workshops, forums and projects; and networking.

QLD
Lauren Hewitt

2014 Queensland winner – Lauren Hewitt

Lauren grew up on a banana farm in Queensland during the emergence of environmental awareness, which sparked her passion to specialize in environmental law at university. Lauren currently works as General Manager of Policy at AgForce Queensland where she coordinates a team of policy specialists who provide important links between individual primary producers and government and industry body regulators. In this role Lauren has represented AgForce Queensland’s 5,000 strong membership at state and national forums and conferences, including Ministerial forums and the National Farmers Federation Policy Committee. 

She has also recently purchased a dairy farm at Mount Mee which she plans to run as a cattle fattening property with her husband.

Lauren recognizes the issues producers face in relation to controlling the cost of leasehold land, which across Australia is based on government-owned tenure that is then rented back to primary producers. With the majority of farm debt and capital tied up in land, this tenure security and rental arrangement has significant implications for continued farm viability. In 2012 Lauren conducted and published research with rural leasehold land academic Professor Chris Eves into rural leasehold land profitability in Australia, however more research and awareness of this issue is needed. 

Lauren’s project is to improve farm profitability through leasehold tenure and rent security by sharing knowledge and collaborating between leasehold jurisdictions. She aims to do this by creating a website with relevant materials; hosting workshops with farm and government representatives where rural leasehold land is a significant issue; create a new Australian leasehold land working group to bring together and share information and expertise; and identify and foster collaboration between researchers and farm representatives.

SA
Penny Schulz

2014 South Australia winner – Penny Schulz

Penny co-runs Schulz Livestock, a beef and sheep enterprise which produces prime lambs, first cross ewe lambs and stud beef bulls but is also a consultant providing agricultural project management, facilitation, delivery and consultation services to the dairy, beef and sheep industries. She has recently completed a Master of Science in Agricultural and a Graduate Certificate in Rural Science specialising in Agricultural Consulting and has been a member of several beef and youth committees.

Penny is passionate about dairy extension, having worked as a Senior Dairy Extension Officer, and established the Young Dairy Network South Australia (YDN SA). This program has greatly increased the ability of young dairy farmers across the state to communicate with each other, access training and engage in opportunities relevant to young farmers. She is a board member of Livestock South Australia which represents and promotes the interests of beef cattle, sheep and goat producers. 

Penny’s vision is to coordinate a National Dairy Challenge which would consist of an inaugural two day event attracting numerous teams from across the country to compete in a range of dairy related activities including pasture management, cattle judging, cheese/milk tasting, animal’s selection and milk quality control. Penny will engage the Young Dairy Network to provide an opportunity to build its members leadership and organisation skills, whilst also providing opportunities for them to showcase the South Australian dairy industry to interstate teams. Penny hopes that this pilot event can be hosted by other states and associated dairy networks, to promote the industry nationally.

WA
Jackie Jarvis

2014 Western Australia winner – Jackie Jarvis

Jackie is a primary producer who jointly owns a commercial vineyard and wine production company in Margaret River, Western Australia, and is also the West Australian Manager for MADEC, a not for profit business operating in the training and employment sector. In this role Jackie has developed the Regional Migrant Employment Support (RMES) pilot program which assists resettled humanitarian refugees find employment in West Australian Agriculture. 

Jackie has found through this experience that the program has not only been embraced by farming businesses, but is a way to secure permanent workers willing to locate to regional West Australia. This has the long term effect of revitalizing towns, bringing new families to country schools, adding cultural diversity to these communities, and providing stable employment for refugees who are often from farming backgrounds.

Jackie’s project is to create film postcards showcasing re-settled refugees working in agriculture and use her networks and social media to distribute these postcards to highlight the social and community benefits received by using this type of employment model. Jackie is currently a member on the Australia Landcare Council; the Rural, Remote and Regional Women’s Network, was former Director and Treasurer of the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Woman and has worked regularly with the National Rural Woman Coalition. She believes that using these and other local community networks will assist in the promotion of her work, as rural women play a vital role in on-farm recruitment. 

TAS
Annette Reed

2014 Tasmania state winner – Annette Reed

Annette owns a small 40 hectare property which has been transformed to become economically viable by taking up the unique opportunity to support niche food markets, including 40 types of heirloom tomatoes and garlic products. This strengthened her ambition for primary industries to attract a greater number of small Tasmanian properties to be developed into vibrant and thriving boutique and niche markets. 

Her project is to undertake a 35 day tour of America and Canada to explore successful niche markets for tomato and garlic enterprises. This will include growing methods, best varieties for transport and sale, frost mitigation, extending growing seasons, marketing, value adding, packaging and consumer preferences. Annette will then present a series of grass root based workshops to encourage women on small rural properties to seek new business opportunities. Annette also aims to develop her own leadership, business and governance skills.

As Chair of the Tasmanian Women in Agriculture, Annette has forged the vision of 'connecting, supporting and celebrating Tasmanian Rural Women', developing achievable pathways forward, clear procedures and a robust succession plan. She has taken up opportunities to attend marketing and business workshops and forums, and has contributed to her community through founding the Rural Help @Hand organization, which provides vital support and information to rural patients and their families who are facing city hospitalisation.

NT
Dr Amelia Rentz

2014 Northern Territory winner – Dr Amelia Rentz

Amelia is a recent graduate veterinary surgeon who runs her own practice in the Northern Territory. 

Upon completing primary school Amelia completed her secondary education via correspondence with the Northern Territory Open Education Centre in order to spend more time on her family’s properties. At the same time she undertook Vocational Education Training, successfully completing Certificates I and II in Agriculture (Beef Cattle Production and Rural Enterprises), to attain a greater practical knowledge of the industry before studying veterinary science at the University of Queensland. Amelia is passionate about community education and believes in the important role that rural women play in educating the wider community in health, welfare, and productivity. 

Amelia’s vision is to improve livestock disease intelligence and surveillance by developing a rural education program focusing on high risk zoonotic diseases and how they relate to humans and animals in regional Northern Australia. Amelia will use the RWA bursary to work with schools, government agencies, women’s groups and individuals to create a greater awareness of current and emerging animal related diseases that have the potential to affect public health. 

In the future Amelia hopes to undertake postgraduate study in public health and work in developing countries to continue the development of her vision.

Current Runners-up

NSW
Edwina Beveridge

2014 New South Wales runner-up - Edwina Beveridge

Edwina is a pig farmer from young who runs the first sustainable ’carbon’ farm in Australia, generating their own electricity and fertiliser from pig manure and working with the Clean Energy Regulator to promote this farming model. Her farm has the lowest carbon footprint of any pig farm in the country with half of the farms pig feed procured from other people’s waste, which would otherwise end up in landfill. 

Edwina is a member of the New South Wales Farmers Pork Committee and also works with Australian Pork Limited by hosting journalists, conducting interviews and creating industry promotional videos. Edwina supports her local community by employing 30 full time workers who have access to training and opportunities for career progression. 

Edwina’s vision for the Australian agricultural sector is to improve efficiencies and compete on the international market, whilst maintaining sustainable environmental practices and high animal welfare standards. 

Edwina’s project is to promote and support current best practice of animal welfare in the pig industry. Her objective is to further develop the science behind pig welfare in intensive farming, particularly looking at current research to develop new criteria on which to assess existing trials of farrowing housing alternatives. She will examine piglet welfare, using existing trials, studies and research, and will seek veterinarian advice. 

VIC
Avril Hogan

2014 Victoria runner-up - Avril Hogan

Originally from Canada, Avril emigrated to Australia to a sheep farm outside of Goroke and started a regional market research consulting company ‘Insightrix’, which has now grown to employ 20 local people. This company works primarily in agriculture and has produced work over a range of areas including triggers producers use to decide what crops to plant; monitoring the acceptance of new crops introduced in Australia and tracked over five years; collecting user feedback on a range of training, tools, programs, and government benefits for producers; and research into Victorian producers adoption and attitudes to climate change. 

Insightrix employs predominately women who are mothers returning to the workforce and young women who have left school early. This company provides them with professional training, computer skills, customer service, communication and interpersonal skills. 

Avril is passionate about empowering young women to provide skilled employees for the rural sector and her vision is to build the capacity of young rural women to contribute to the sustainability of their community and selves. 

Her project is to develop a rural youth mentorship program matching professional and/or migrant women to young women (aged 14 – 19). The initial pilot will involve 4 communities and 20 matched mentees and mentors and will run over an 8 month periods. The key outcomes will be an exploration of the mentees education and career aspirations, and inspiration for the mentees to pursue studies, follow their passions and remain in regional areas to contribute their skills to agriculture. As an immigrant herself Avril understands the challenges faced by new comers to rural communities, and also aims through this program to support the reception and integration of immigrants. 

QLD

2014 Queensland runner-up - Rhonda Sorenson

Rhonda is a strong advocate of collaborative partnerships to create positive sustainable economic and social change in rural and remote communities. She has a particular interest in using the abundant tropical expertise particularly in agribusiness, food processing and bio discovery to develop new and innovative industries to diversity and strengthen the regional economy and create jobs. 

Rhonda runs her own business and is Principal Research and Managing Director for SassyBio Pty Ltd which specializes in rural innovation, rural economic and community development. She is a member and chair of numerous agricultural committees; is coordinator of Malanda Small Farms Field Days; is a 'Blueprint for the Bush' Ambassador; and works with several women’s groups including the Women in Local Government strategy group and the Rural Women’s symposium state reference group. 

Rhonda proposes to lead a sustainable Small Farms Filed Day project which will put “Ag” back into Agricultural shows. This project will help fill the growing gap in dissemination and adoption of sustainable farm practices with smaller landholders in Australia, by undertaking a program of creating self-sustaining annual events in local communities as a partnership between local show societies and Landcare groups. 

Rhonda will conduct a study tour of New South Wales, Victoria and West Australia to attend successful small farms field days to investigate and understand the potential for supporting the adoption of sustainable farming and agricultural innovations through show societies and Landcare Partnerships at a local level. 

SA
Susie Green

2014 South Australia runner-up - Susie Green

Susie is passionate about the Australian horticultural industry and believes in the vital importance of local, fresh food production to the long term health and wealth of our society. She has over 20 years’ experience working both nationally and internationally in soil and water management in various fields of agronomy, capacity building, business development and marketing, and holds numerous leadership positions including CEO of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia and several council and chair appointments on agricultural and educational committees. 

Susie is committed to her community and industry and is working hard to change the culture of the apple and pear industry to one of proactive positivity and collaboration.

Susie’s vision for the Australian horticultural industry is to proactively engage with the broader community to strengthen linkages between consumers and producers, particularly in light of the growing divide between these groups. Her project is a pilot to determine if a community engagement approach using citizen’s juries can generate deeper understanding of fresh food production among consumers; identify values around fresh food production; and enable the horticultural industry to develop positive stories that will effectively engage and connect with consumers and the general public. 

Susie hopes that if this pilot is successful, the approach could be upscaled through grant applications and industry collaboration to be applied to the broader national horticultural industry, across all different areas of Australian agriculture. Susie also hopes that this work will provide an example to other rural women that having the courage to think laterally and act on personal passions and beliefs can have a major impact.

WA

2014 Western Australia runner-up - Jodie Lane

Jodie is passionate about promoting local food to local people, and through her business ‘Fair Harvest’ conducts classes, workshops and events promoting and teaching people about local food growing. Her business aims to educate growers and consumers about ethical and local ways of accessing food and runs an annual 2 week Permaculture Design Certificate in permaculture and organic growing. 

Jodie is also active in her community and has initiated projects such as the Monthly Swap Shuffle, a community day where locals are encouraged to bring excess seeds, plants and produce to exchange; Growers' Shared Meals where local produce is brought to her business venue and growers enjoy a three course meal prepared by a local chef; the Festival of Forgotten Skills, a family day where old and forgotten skills are shared by community members; the Bee Fair, a day for celebrating bees and beekeeping; and developing and promoting my ‘Eat Local Month’ a personal challenge to eat only locally grown food.
 
Due to the immense interest in her ‘Eat Local Month’ experience Jodie aspires to develop a ‘Eat Local Week’ challenge that will encourage people to eat locally. Jodie’s aim is to reach maximum public engagement and provide an interactive resource to promote primary industry Australia wide. Her project will include the development of an interactive website where participants sign up to the challenge and local producers can showcase their produce; and on the ground community driven events including an opening week for the challenge, a primary producers trail and a local food feast.

TAS
Sarah Hirst

2014 Tasmania runner-up - Sarah Hirst

Sarah began her career as a cadet journalist, becoming the rural editor of the Launceston Examiner writing about the dreams, successes and hardships of farmers and rural communities. Since this time Sarah has worked for several rural publications, including the Weekly Times, Herald Sun, and Canberra's Press Gallery, before becoming the Public Relations Director of the National Farmers Federation. 

In this role, Sarah worked on lobbying and PR campaigns to improve the life and working conditions of rural Australians, including the International Women in Agricultural Conference which showcases the incredible inspiring stories of women in rural industries from around the world. Sarah owns and manages Leaning Church Vineyard and has recently purchased the local tavern which is to be turned into a regional food and wine showcase and tasting center. She has also established her own PR and marketing company, been a finalist in the Tasmanian Telstra Businesswoman Awards, and has won tourism, journalist and chamber of commerce awards.

Sarah has a passion to engage with rural women and promote farmgate experiences around Tasmania so locals and tourists can meet the producer, understand the origins of products from paddock to plate and gain a deep appreciation of the incredible women and men on the land. Sarah's vision is to study, learn and develop a model for an interactive farmgate 'meet the producer' trail for farmers to achieve three key goals: boost farm profitability by selling premium produce at full retail margin from the farmgate; add a dynamic rural-focused component to tourism industries; and educate consumers about the origins of food by enabling them to meet the farmer, taste the produce, learn about production and purchase home-grown goods. 

NT
Bonnie Henderson

2014 Northern Territory runner-up - Bonnie Henderson

Bonnie comes from a family of graziers who operate cattle stations in far north-west Queensland and the Victoria River district and has a personal commitment to raising awareness of quality breeding stock and modern scientifically based beef production practice. Bonnie is also passionate about the lost art of saddle making, which she became engaged in whilst pursuing her career in flying. 

Bonnie's vision is to develop an educational program around rural skills, particularly saddle making, in conjunction with her local secondary college Vocational Education Program to up skill young people as they enter primary industries. 

Her aim is to keep young people in rural industries by providing training that can lead to a full time career, or supplement income as an added skill in conjunction with other paid work or family commitments. Bonnie believes this is important given the current economic times, where an increasing demand for good quality Australian made saddles can provide employment for young women in remote areas.