The five women – Emma Robinson (Charters Towers), Cilla Slack (Reids Creek), Krista Watkins (Walkamin), Amanda Hinds (Bundaberg) and Fiona Lake (Hermit Park) - have been named Queensland finalists in the prestigious award.
Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said the five inspirational and innovative women were a tribute to Queensland agriculture.
“They have each demonstrated a commitment to agriculture and are regarded as visionaries and future industry leaders,” Mrs Donaldson said.
“The Rural Women’s Award enables us to recognise the significant contribution women are making to ensure our primary industries are innovative, profitable and sustainable.”
Emma Robinson is a commercial beef producer with a keen interest in promoting the future of family farming. Emma’s Award ambition will build on her 2015 Winston Churchill Trust Fellowship research into producer co-operatives and beef supply chain innovation. She will use the bursary to further champion the producer co-operative model; promoting opportunities for family farmers to achieve greater scale, efficiency and market advantage through co-operation.
Cilla Slack is a fourth generation grazier whose commitments include helping to run her family’s hardwood timber sawmill and cattle property. Combining her love of the bush, strong background in rural industries and performing arts experience, Cilla’s vision is to develop and produce a television program ‘Blue Gum Farm TV’ to educate children about rural life, the value of Queensland’s primary industries and how fresh food is produced. The series will feature real life Queensland farmers and graziers, icons, landmarks and promote the diversity of primary industries in Queensland.
Early childhood teacher, Krista Watkins grew up on a cattle station and recently returned to her rural roots to manage the family’s banana plantation and build the world’s first pharmaceutical-grade green banana processing facility with husband Rob in 2012. Krista’s Award ambition will build on her passion for finding sustainable, innovative solutions for the vast quantities of unsaleable produce in the Tablelands farming area. The bursary will assist her to research the nutritional content and value of unsaleable primary produce and the market potential and opportunities to transform them into high value food sources.
Café owner and chef Amanda Hinds is passionate about supporting locally grown produce and growers and has a strong involvement in culinary and tourism initiatives across the Bundaberg North Burnett region. Using her personal experience, knowledge and networks, Amanda aspires to encourage greater direct connections between chefs and local producers. She will use the bursary to develop a professional development program for the local hospitality industry with the aim of increasing the use of seasonal, local product in local menus and encouraging consistent, high quality culinary experiences for the region’s visitors.
Award winning agricultural photographer and writer Fiona Lake has spent more than two decades profiling Australia’s northern cattle stations through her photographic exhibitions, books, greetings cards and rural advocacy website. Fiona sees immense value in farmer storytelling and would like to run a national competition for short videos specifically promoting the conservation, sustainability and animal welfare work being undertaken on farms – as told by the farmers themselves. Fiona will provide practical, hands-on advice to help farmers embrace social media and develop their story telling and video making skills.
The state winner – to receive a $10,000 project bursary and take part in a program of professional development, leadership support and networking - will be announced on 24 February. The national awards will be announced in October.
The awards are coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry on behalf of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.
The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water, Westpac Agribusiness, RM Williams Outback Magazine, ABC Radio and Fairfax Agriculture Media support the award.