Giv­ing back to agri­cul­ture

Dubbo Photo News - - Emergency issues - By NATALIE HOLMES

A LO­CAL woman with a knowl­edge of the busi­ness world and a back­ground in agri­cul­ture has been se­lected for two im­por­tant op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Lucinda Hawkins, who is the Head of Agribusi­ness for the Bank of Queens­land in Dubbo, was cho­sen for the Agri­fu­tures Ig­nite Ad­vi­sory Panel and the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion (NFF) Di­ver­sity in Agri­cul­ture lead­er­ship pro­gram.

Hum­bled by the recog­ni­tion, Lucinda said agri­cul­ture has al­ways been part of her life.

“I’ve been in­volved in agri­cul­ture in some shape or form all my life. I grew up on a fam­ily farm, a beef prop­erty at Walcha in north­ern NSW. I stud­ied Agri­cul­tural Eco­nom­ics at Sydney Univer­sity and went into agri-fi­nance as a ca­reer.

“It is some­thing that has taken me all across NSW, Queens­land, and Scot­land in the UK.

“Be­ing part of Ig­nite and the NFF pro­gram is an op­por­tu­nity to give back to that in­dus­try – agri­cul­ture has pro­vided won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to me, now that I have de­vel­oped some skills, I can give back.”

Lucinda de­scribed Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture as an amaz­ing in­dus­try that has a big fu­ture.

“We have the most ef­fi­cient food and fi­bre pro­duc­tion in the world with clean, green prod­ucts.

“We need to take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties and to be proac­tive in iden­ti­fy­ing them.”

At­tend­ing her first panel ad­vi­sory meet­ing on May 17, Lucinda was look­ing for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with her fel­low pan­el­lists. The first meet­ing of the NFF was held last week in Can­berra.

“The panel is all about con­nect­ing with other in­di­vid­u­als to dis­cuss and tackle some of the chal­lenges,” she explained.

By us­ing dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies and in­no­va­tions, Lucinda said the na­tional in­dus­try can make its mark glob­ally.

“Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture needs to get bet­ter at telling its story. Too of­ten the nar­ra­tive has been cre­ated.”

Cit­ing sto­ries on live sheep ex­port­ing, is­sues with water ef­fi­ciency and the drought cir­cum­stances, Lucinda pointed out that its of­ten neg­a­tiv­ity in the in­dus­try that makes the head­lines.

“We need to get bet­ter about telling the pub­lic what we do so well,” she said.

“Farm­ers are the best cus­to­di­ans of the land who care about the en­vi­ron­ment and an­i­mal wel­fare. That’s the main thing – that we con­tinue the nar­ra­tive on agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.”

Lucinda hopes the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try con­tin­ues to grow, of­fer­ing prospects on a global level.

“When I was de­cid­ing on a ca­reer, I was asked why I wanted to do it. But it’s an in­dus­try with a huge em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity. And it’s the fastest grow­ing con­trib­u­tor to the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP).”

Lucinda has even taken her pas­sion for agri­cul­ture into other coun­tries.

“I’ve been to China on a beef tour and they love Aus­tralian prod­ucts. If we can get that right, we only need to sat­isfy a small amount.

“We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to feed the world. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to make a com­mit­ment on a global scale.

“We also need to keep fo­cus on do­mes­tic prod­ucts like lamb, beef, chicken, wool and cot­ton.”

Lucinda is proud to be among other women mak­ing their mark in the in­dus­try she loves.

“We have got some won­der­ful lead­ers in agri­cul­ture, Fiona Sim­son is among them. We all bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the ta­ble.

Of­fer­ing ad­vice to others, she said, “I’d en­cour­age other women not to step back.

“I’ve never felt dis­ad­van­taged be­cause I’m a fe­male. I think I’ve been given more op­por­tu­ni­ties as a woman.”

As far as her se­lec­tion, Lucinda’s deep un­der­stand­ing of agri­cul­tural is­sues, as well as her involvement in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties was what stood out to the panel.

Lucinda Hawkins, third from left, with other mem­bers of the Agri­fu­tures Ig­nite Ad­vi­sory Panel. PHOTO: AGRI­FU­TURES.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.