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Ag sector grows strong female leaders

On International Day of Rural Women, 12 outstanding female leaders with skills and a vision for agriculture are ready to take the industry by storm.

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, congratulated graduates of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) 2020 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program and recognised the outstanding contributions of women in rural Australia.

“We are fortunate in the agriculture sector to be surrounded by women who provide strong leadership to the industry,” Minister Littleproud said.

“With the support of my department, this leadership program has been connecting women with one-on-one mentoring and personal development opportunities since 2018.

“The result has been real progress towards doubling the number of women in leadership ranks by 2030, with 50 per cent of appointments to agricultural bodies now women up from 38% in 2017 when I took over as Agriculture Minister.

This wasn’t about quotas this was simply about putting an environment around woman to feel comfortable to come forward.

“The twelve graduates who have now completed the program offer a range of expertise in areas from science, research and development, farm health and safety, to education and farm business management.

“Past graduates have gone on to assume federal and state government-based board roles and to be high-profile female advocates and leaders for our sector.

“While it has been a year of challenges for regions, female leaders continue to be at the forefront of innovation and building the productivity and resilience of rural communities.

“For example, the Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace created by Sarah Britz, Lauren Hately and Jenn Donovan is supporting small rural and regional enterprises impacted by bushfire, drought and coronavirus.

“This is helping regional industries to bounce back and in turn positively influencing the mental health of employees and families.

“Similarly, the winner of this year’s Tasmanian AgriFuture’s Rural Women’s Award, Karen Brock, is changing the face of the plant supply chain.

“Karen has created a process which accelerates traditional propagation methods, creating faster harvesting times for farmers and providing food security to the agri business sector.

“We must not forget the role regional and rural women play across Australia, building productivity and cohesion as farmers, managers, volunteers and within the household.

“Today we recognise their outstanding contributions, and the need for continued momentum to ensure even more women are supported into agriculture and leadership roles,” Minister Littleproud said.