North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

SEVEN ex­cep­tional women have been recog­nised for their con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralia’s ru­ral in­dus­tries by be­ing named state and ter­ri­tory win­ners of the 2018 AgriFutures Ru­ral Women’s Award.

The AgriFutures Ru­ral Women’s Award ac­knowl­edges the essen­tial role that women play in ru­ral in­dus­tries, and ru­ral and re­gional busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties.

Com­pe­ti­tion was fierce for the 2018 award, with 21 per cent more ap­pli­cants than in 2017.

The state-based se­lec­tion pan­els com­pleted a num­ber of re­view and in­ter­view stages, be­fore the even­tual win­ner was de­clared at state and ter­ri­tory an­nounce­ment events in cap­i­tal cities across Aus­tralia over the last three months.

The seven win­ners are emerg­ing lead­ers who have ei­ther al­ready com­menced a project that is pos­i­tively im­pact­ing ru­ral and re­gional Aus­tralia, and the award will en­able them to boost, ex­pand or el­e­vate their work; or they have iden­ti­fied a prob­lem or op­por­tu­nity and the award will help them to bring this to life.

The Vic­to­rian win­ner was Melissa Con­nors, who launched her project ‘This Farm Needs a Farmer’ in 2015, which aims to build stronger, more en­gaged com­mu­ni­ties by con­nect­ing tree chang­ers with es­tab­lished and re­tired farm­ers who can pass on their valu­able knowl­edge to new­com­ers.

Each state and ter­ri­tory win­ner re­ceives a $10,000 bur­sary to as­sist in de­liv­ery of their win­ning idea.

The win­ners will now rep­re­sent their state or ter­ri­tory at the AgriFutures Ru­ral Women’s Award Gala in Can­berra, held later this year, where the na­tional win­ner and na­tional run­ner up for the 2018 award will be an­nounced.

WIN­NER: Melissa Con­nors has been named as the AgriFutures Ru­ral Vic­to­rian Award win­ner, for her project This Farm Needs a Farmer. The na­tional win­ner will be an­nounced in Can­berra later this year.

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