Horizon scholars’ vision for the future of women in Australian agriculture.
Dallas Pearce, AgriFutures Australia.
Agriculture is ingrained in the hearts and minds of three female students recently awarded a 2018 AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship. Fond memories are brought to mind when these young women reminisce on their first recollection of agriculture. For Indiana Rhind, it was exploring horticulture and her first taste of an Australian classic.
“My earliest memory of agriculture would be picking oranges on a family friends hobby farm. There was nothing better than climbing to the heights of the orange trees and collecting what seemed to be an endless supply of oranges in the eyes of a child,” said Indiana.
Indiana, unlike many other Horizon scholars, grew up in an urban backyard rather than a rural playground, in the NSW Central Coast town of Berkeley Vale. Indiana’s passion for rural industries was sparked from an early age. She is passionate of the growing issue of gender diversity within the industry with just 30% of women employed in the agricultural sector, and is looking forward to bringing about change.
Studying a Bachelor of Engineering at University of Queensland, Indiana is excited to push the boundaries, remove the stigma surrounding women in agriculture, and celebrate gender diversity within rural industries.
“It’s important that we celebrate the accomplishments of women in agriculture and encourage diversity within the sector. Women in this sector bring new opportunities to the table, which is significant, particularly now, as employers look to match employees with the numerous jobs available.
“We need to move forward as an industry in terms of improving technology and educating younger generations on the various aspects of agriculture and the opportunities this industry provides; we need to share stories of success and excitement in the farming industry and regardless of gender and stigma,” said Indiana.
Sarah Ludington, sponsored by Dairy Australia, is another scholar that wasn’t ‘born into’ to agriculture, she discovered her love of dairy through participation in her school
“I grew up in Sydney where everything is fast paced and no one takes the time to stop and appreciate the little things in life, and that’s what I love about agriculture, it can be the polar opposite,” said Sarah.
Sarah is studying a Bachelor of Rural Science at University of New England, and aims to follow a career path of a livestock consultant to help farmers maximise genetic and nutritional potential. She also wants to be a part of the up-and-coming wave of women specialising in science and engineering areas within agriculture.
“Women in the agricultural industry have so much to offer, and I see the future being bright, strong and fearless,” said Sarah.
Anna Horton, sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation, is passionate about agribusiness, having grown up on her family’s sheep farm in Craigie, in southern Monaro, NSW. Anna believes the agricultural industry is well on its way to embracing gender diversity.
“In 2017, I worked on a large cattle station in the Northern Territory as a Jillaroo. Within my camp, girls made up at least half of the group. When I was comparing my time to my father’s as a Jackaroo nearly 30 years ago, the only women on the station at that time were the Manager’s wife and the occasional cook,” said Anna.
Anna has been surrounded by rural and regional communities all her life, and even in her short time, has seen the industry evolve.
“I’m so excited to learn more and contribute to the agriculture in Australia. New technologies have opened up numerous opportunities to increase production an efficiency in all stages of the supply chain, it’s an exciting time to be in agriculture,” said Anna.
Anna is studying at University of New England and is passionate about research and development in meat, livestock and wool industries. She also aims to promote agriculture to the Australian public.
“I see a growing divide between the understanding of what actually happens in the agricultural industry, and how the general public perceives it. I want to help change this perspective, and educate people on our great industry,” said Anna.
Students selected for the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship program have a strong understanding of Australia’s rural industries, the challenges and opportunities facing rural and regional Australia, and importantly want to be part of the next generation of leaders to deliver change, impact and results, including gender diversity.
The AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship program supports the next generation of leaders that will drive the future prosperity in Australian rural industries and communities by providing:
- a bursary of $5000 per year for two years
- professional development workshops
- annual industry work placements aligned with the scholar’s areas of interest and their sponsor’s industry
- opportunities to network and gain knowledge at a range of industry events.
The program supports students enrolled in full time study at an Australian university by providing a range of benefits, skills and networks, providing an excellent platform for their future career prospects and success. Indiana, Anna and Sarah are three of 14 students awarded the 2018 AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship.
How to apply
Applications for the 2019 AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship Program are now open at https://agrifutures.smartygrants.com.au/horizonscholarship2019
Closing date: 5.00pm AEDT Friday, 1 March 2019.
Following a review of all written applications, short-listed applicants will participate in a phone interview with representatives from AgriFutures Australia and Horizon Scholarship sponsors, after which the successful applicants will be selected.
Successful students will be notified in May 2019.