Leading women in Australian agriculture say the main issue facing the industry is the disconnect between producers and the consumers of their products.
The results of a survey into the role of women in regional and rural Australia have been released by the Rural Industries R&D Corporation (RIRDC) prior to the announcement of the national winner of the 2012 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award next week.
The data, compiled from the responses from the Award’s alumni group, provides insight into the issues facing today’s women in primary industries as well as reflecting on their own experience in agriculture.
The former recipients of the Rural Women’s Award indicated there are four areas that needed greater focus and attention:
• Producer/consumer disconnect (83%)
• Aging workforce (66%)
• Profitability of farms (or small businesses) (62%)
• Bureaucracy/red tape (55%)
Rural Industries R & D Corporation Managing Director, Craig Burns, said recent events and trends in the sector highlight the need for one voice and vision promoting the great work of people in agriculture.
“As we get closer to the 2012 Rural Women’s Award announcement, it’s inspiring to see past winners continuing to be advocates for life in rural Australia – not just in their own communities but for all Australians,” Mr Burns said.
“The finalists for this year’s award are all exceptional women, working hard for their industries. I’m excited for them to share their story with Australia and eager to see how they’ll engage further with their communities and consumers in the future.
“These women will continue to grow their networks and advocate for a vibrant and dynamic rural Australia.”
Since participating in the Rural Women’s Award program, now in its fourteenth year, the Alumni have overwhelmingly experienced a growth in their own personal confidence, as well as their ability to have a real impact in their industry and sector.
2011 National Award winner, Caroline Robinson, said it was an honour to be a part of such an enthusiastic and switched-on network.
“Since winning the Award, I have met and worked with some extraordinary women, all with a great passion and vigour for our agricultural future,” Ms Robinson said.
“The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to women doing great things in this country – we have so much to give and there are so many women doing remarkable work for their industries, as well as their families and communities.”
Thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award program, one woman said her most significant achievement was “seeing other women succeed.”
The 2012 Award winner will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Great Hall, Parliament House on Tuesday 9 October, 2012.
The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is an initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporationin partnership with the state and territory agencies responsible for agriculture, primary industries and resources. The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is proudly supported by the Award’s Platinum Sponsor, Westpac Agribusiness, its national partner, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Award’s media partners, RM Williams OUTBACK Magazine, ABC Radio and Rural Press Ltd.
2012 Rural Women of the Year Award finalists are:
• Annette Smith – natural resource management advocator, QLD
• Mary Retallack – viticulture consultant, SA
• Catherine Marriott – Beef industry consultant, WA
• Fiona Ewing – salmon industry community engagement officer, TAS
• Danica Leys – lawyer and AgChatOZ co-founder, NSW
• Tania Chapman – citrus industry leader, VIC
• Barbara Koennecke – aquarium industry pioneer, NT