FOUR WA women with a passion for agriculture and regional development have been shortlisted for a prestigious rural women’s award.
Karen Chappel, Julianne Hill, Leonie Noble and Tress Walmsley are among the finalists for the 2015 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award.
The WA winner will be announced by Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston at an awards ceremony in Perth on Thursday, March 19.
Morawa finalist Ms Chappel believes rural women are the backbone of agricultural communities.
Her project, Clubsmatter, is a simple resource to give women confidence to step up and take on more active leadership roles in their communities.
Clubsmaster is a toolkit for office bearers and officials that includes a simple set of guidelines and governance principles for rural clubs and groups.
The resource gives women the confidence to take more active leadership roles in their local communities.
Ms Chappel lives with her husband on a 5400 hectare broadacre farm.
Her strong personal commitment to community is evident through the many positions she holds within an array of rural and regional boards, organisations and clubs including Morawa shire president, WALGA State councillor and Morawa District High School Board chairwoman.
Brunswick finalist Julianne Hill acknowledges the rural divide has become wider, despite many people’s best efforts at bridging it.
Her project the Grain Game brings broadacre agriculture to regional schools to excite students about the prospect of being involved in agriculture.
Ms Hill is passionate about working with broadacre farmers and the broader agricultural industry.
Together with her husband, she farmed a broadacre property on the South Coast before relocating with her family to the South West.
Ms Hill works for the GRDC as a regional cropping solutions co-ordinator.
Ms Hill said one of the challenges is the lack of knowledge or interest in farming and agriculture from outside the grains industry, and the growing divide between the city and country.
“The rural divide has become wider, despite many of our best efforts at bridging it,” Ms Hill said.
“The Grain Game brings broadacre agriculture to regional schools to excite students about the prospect of being involved in agriculture.”
The game is designed to expose students to broadacre cropping.
Geraldton-based finalist Leonie Noble is a partner in an owner-operated Rock Lobster licence on the Mid West coast and off the Abrolhos Islands.
She has a background in fishing and community capacity building, as well as fisheries policy and management.
Ms Noble heads up Australia’s National Women Industry Network seafood community.
Ms Noble’s 100 Women in Seafood project was developed
to provide a platform to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution women make to the Australian seafood industry.
The list is not an award or ranking but a vehicle to recognise, promote and share the input that women in seafood provide to their industries, seafood production and the economy.
“There are amazing women making a difference from boats to the boardroom,” Ms Noble said.
“Profiling 100 Women in Seafood will showcase the influence of seafood women, and create visible ambassadors for our female leaders of tomorrow.”
Perth-based finalist Tress Walmsley recognises the exclusive global advantage WA farmers have to grow wheat for Udon noodles.
Ms Walmsley’s project Oodles of Noodles aims to get WA consumers to eat more noodles.
“One of our best kept secrets is that WA farmers have an exclusive advantage to grow wheat for Udon noodles,” Ms Walmsley said.
“Oodles of Noodles will help to get the western world to consume more noodles.
“If the demand for growing Noodle wheat increases, our WA grain growers will reap the benefits.”
As Intergrain’s chief executive officer, Ms Walmsley’s job is to bring new wheat and barley varieties to Australian grain growers.
She has a farming background, and has built a career in the grains industry, starting as an agronomist in the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) before moving into grains commercialisation and then to InterGrain.
With WA farmers growing most of the world’s supply of Udon noodles, Ms Walmsley aim is to encourage Western Australians to take a page from the Japanese cookbook and put more Udon noodles on their plates.
DAFWA director general Rob Delane said the awards recognise and encourage the vital contribution women make to rural Australia.
The WA winner will receive a $10,000 bursary to help develop their project and the finalists will receive a $1000 bursary from DAFWA.
The awards are supported by DAFWA, CBH Group and Westpac.
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