News

Qld, SA announce rural womens award winners

Beef Central, 29/02/2016

A cattle producer from Charters Towers and the chief executive of Potatoes South Australia are the first finalists named for the 2016 Australian Rural Women’s Award.

Emma Robinson from Charters Towers was last week named as the winner of the Queensland Rural Women’s Award for 2016.

Emma, a former Queensland DPI extension officer,  plans to use the $10,000 bursary to promote family farm cooperatives and to help them to be more efficient and cooperative.

Emma said co-operatives could come in many different shapes and sizes and a number of models were successful around the world.

“I hope by bringing in experts to allow family farms to succeed in a competitive global market.

“This can be achieved by using new media to promote family farming co-operatives and by building relationships between producers and supply chain, I hope this can bring long-term sustainable success to the sector,” she said.

The other Queensland finalists were Cilla Slack from Reids Creek, Krista Watkins from Walkamin, Amanda Hinds from Bundaberg and Fiona Lake from Hermit Park.

South Australian Rural Woman of the Year winner Robbie Davis aims to use her award bursary to focus on helping to eliminate the vast amount of food that is wasted in Australia every year.

Ms Davis lives on a beef cattle property at Meningie West in South Australia’s upper South East and is the chief executive officer of Potatoes SA.

She aims to use the award bursary to investigate increasing productivity through the reduction of food waste in the potato industry and wider horticulture sector.

Ms Davis estimates more than $30 million worth of potatoes are wasted every year between the farm and the restaurant.

“At least 20 per cent of our potatoes can’t be sold and it is dug back into the ground or goes to a feedlot for livestock,” she said. “And where there is waste, you have to pay for it to be removed.

“Produce has to be a perfect shape, the right size and needs smooth skin, or it is sold as seconds which brings a low price compared to premium produce.

“I feel a responsibility to the horticulture sector to try and lift the low margins in the industry by increasing the value of the waste.”

The three other SA finalists were Karen Holder, of Port Adelaide, who manages a blue swimmer crab fishing business, Linda Eldredge, of Clare, who has been involved in various agricultural groups, and Louisa Mondello, the company secretary for Gawler River Produce, near Gawler.

The national Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award will be announced August 24 in Canberra.

The following States and Territories are due to announce the winners of their awards on the following dates:

  • New South Wales:  8 March 2016
  • Western Australia: 17 March 2016
  • Tasmania: Early March 2016 (TBC)
  • Victoria: 14 April 2016
  • Northern Territory: Mid-April 2016 (TBC)

For more information on the award, visit www.rirdc.gov.au/rural-women’s-award

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