State finalists in RIRDC Rural Women’s Award announced

Beef Central, 27/03/2012


The 2012 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award state winners and runners up have now been officially announced and presented at events across Australia.

The state and territory winners will go on to compete for the 2012 Australian RIRDC Rural Women's Award. The national winner will be announced at the Australian RIRDC Rural Women's Award 2012 Celebratory Dinner, to be held on the night of Tuesday 9 October 2012 at the Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra.

The 2012 recipients are:

Tasmanian 2012 Winner – Fiona Ewing from Snug

Fiona works as the Community Engagement Officer with salmon processor Tassals. With the major salmon companies looking to expand their operations to the west coast of Tasmania, Fiona wants to use the Award to establish a community trust that will support rural communities and deliver lasting economic and social change to the west coast of Tasmania.

Tasmanian 2012 Runner Up – Gina Butler from Tunnel

Gina is Principal of Yondover Goat Farmhouse Cheeses and a leader in the Tasmanian goat cheese industry. Her ambition is to help support the expansion of the goat dairy industry as a new viable enterprise for producers and an emerging new industry for Tasmania.

Western Australian 2012 Winner – Catherine Marriott from Kununurra

Catherine is a consultant to the live cattle industry, having extensive knowledge and practical involvement in the northern Australian beef industry. Her Award ambition is to bring together a group of women from the pastoral country to develop their knowledge and skills in communication and media so they can better advocate on behalf of the beef industry and on behalf of rural and regional Australia.

Western Australian 2012 Runner Up – Lucinda Giblett from Manjimup

Lucinda is a third generation horticulturalist, an organic grower and a passionate advocate for regional communities and sustainable food production. Her Award ambition is to create a not-for-profit organisation, Stellar Violets, to use the wisdom of her rural women foremothers and to celebrate sustainable food and to help dissolve the urban-rural divide.

South Australian 2012 Winner – Mary Retallack from Crafers West

Mary is a third generation viticulturist and Principal of viticultural consulting group Retallack Viticulture with 17 years practical experience in the industry. Her Award ambition is to support women's leadership to ensure a more profitable and resilient wine industry, through the development of a 'Women in Wine' website, as a comprehensive information and networking hub to support women in the wine industry.

South Australian 2012 Runner Up – Krysteen McElroy from Padthaway

Krysteen and her husband are progressive and climate change smart farmers, operating a mixed farming enterprise in the state's south east. Krysteen is the Executive Officer of the MacKillop Farm Management Group and a Climate Champion farmer. Her Award ambition is to support Australian farmers to be climate ready by researching new high value and water efficient crops to increase productivity and sustainability.

NSW 2012 Winner – Danica Leys from Sydney

Danica is an agronomist and now an agribusiness lawyer based in Sydney and co-founder of social media platform AgChatOz. Her Award ambition is to take AgChatOz to the next generation to better advocate for Australian agriculture.

NSW 2012 Runner Up – Corinne Annetts from Uralla

Corinne is a dairy goat producer and processor from the New England and Principal of Sunhill Skin Essentials, a range of goat milk based skin care products and moisturizers. Her Award ambition is to support rural women in business enterprise and support the expansion of the dairy goat industry in NSW.

Northern Territory 2012 Winner – Barbara Koennecke  from Nhulunbuy

Barbara is a pioneer of the aquarium industry in Northern Territory and Principal of Arafura Aquatic Fish Pty Ltd, one of the first professional aquarium businesses in the Northern Territory. Barbara’s Award ambition is to support the giant clam industry and engage the indigenous community in the development of the aquaculture industry in the territory.

Northern Territory 2012 Runner Up – Dr Samantha McMahon from Katherine

Samantha is an international leader in the field of veterinary practices in remote indigenous communities, having operated veterinary practices across the Territory for the past 17 years. Her Award ambition is to improve animal husbandry programs and services for remote indigenous communities throughout the Territory.

Queensland 2012 Winner – Annette Smith from Emerald

Annette is Chair of Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative Ltd and a Senior Property Valuer with Taylor Byrne. Her Award ambition is to develop and deliver a series of workshops for agricultural landholders and representatives of mining companies, to better inform and to build capacity to negotiate better outcomes for all parties and the broader community.

Queensland 2012 Runner Up – Michelle Deshong from Kirwan

Michelle is a facilitator and mediator with some 20 years experience, working in indigenous affairs and rural women's leadership development. Her Award ambition is to develop a model for cross cultural dialogue and community engagement between indigenous and rural women, to support and build engagement within rural and regional areas.

Victorian RWA 2012 Winner – Tania Chapman from Red Cliffs

Tania is a citrus grower from the Sunraysia and Chair of Citrus Australia. Her Award ambition is to nurture and develop the leadership of rural women and young people in the citrus industry in Australia.

Victorian RWA 2012 Runner Up – Elise Wenden from Charlton

Elise is partner in a mixing farming operation in the Wimmera and runs her own business, Fruition Nutrition, where she provides consulting services and products related to soil and plant health. Her Award ambition is to further develop her knowledge of biological farming as a source of re-invigoration for farming enterprises and rural communities.

The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s pre-eminent award for rural women.

The Award was instigated by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in 2000 to support women with demonstrated leadership capabilities and a commitment to make an even greater contribution to their industries and communities.

The 2012 State and Territory Winners will receive a $10,000 bursary to achieve her Award ambition and will have the opportunity to participate in the Company Directors Course to be held in Canberra from 2 – 9 October 2012.


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