Reaching out to and interacting with consumers is an over-arching passion for central Queensland cattle producer Elisha Parker and it's her online marketing platform that has helped her take out the 2020 Queensland AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.
Ms Parker is the co-founder of Cattlesales.com.au, a marketing and advertising site with an interactive catalogue for sales and auctions, and is also a founder and director of the agricultural advocacy group QLD Food Future Inc, which educates consumers about the agriculture sector.
She was named the 2020 NAB Agribusiness Cattle Council Rising Champion last year.
Wherever an issue of vital importance to Queensland's primary producers has been aired in the last few years, Ms Parker has been among those at the forefront championing the attributes and needs of rural people.
They include campaigns to prevent vegetation management and reef regulation changes as well as the A True Story advocacy vehicle that has presented a grassroots producer message at the Ekka over the past few years, as well as hosting National Ag Day functions.
"The Ekka is literally one of my most favourite events of the year," Ms Parker said.
"It's a most rewarding experience to learn that consumers do want to support you and learn about what you are doing.
"As far as the other things, a lot of women are getting behind these issues now - it's great to see them speaking up.
"I don't know how I get in these positions - I'm just passionate about agvocacy, and you can't just sit around the lunch table whinging."
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner congratulated Ms Parker on her acclamation through the award, which celebrates the contributions of women across the agriculture industry.
"Ms Parker receives a $10,000 Westpac bursary to assist in broadening the scope and reach of Cattlesales.com.au," he said.
"Ms Parker will also participate in a range of networking and professional development opportunities.
"At a time when we have been battling with the ongoing drought, floods and fires, and now the extraordinary impacts of a global pandemic, now more than ever we need big thinkers like Elisha."
Ms Parker said her plans for the bursary, to develop her website's functionality to allow agents to catalogue lots at bull sales, complete with videos and supplementary data, had come at an opportune time, given the restrictions associated with containing the spread of COVID-19.
"When you're preparing for a sale you've got to get there hours ahead to trawl the rows.
"There's definitely still a place for that but this could help you narrow your choices and save some contact with other people."
Mr Furner also congratulated the three other finalists:
- Kerrie Sagnol (Yeppoon) - works with farmers to improve soil health through her role at Resource Consulting Services
- Samantha Meurant (Cunnamulla) - founder of The Rural Compass podcast sharing stories of rural businesswomen across the country
- Kay Tommerup (Kerry) - a dairy farmer dedicated to reconnecting consumers with where their food comes from and how their purchasing choices make a real difference to everyone.
Mr Furner said all finalists would now join the prestigious AgriFutures alumni of rural women.
"Joining the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Alumni means you are part of a network of like-minded women who share the same passion for sustaining and creating change in their sectors," he said.
"I applaud all four of these women for their passion and commitment to making Queensland's agriculture sector even more resilient, profitable and sustainable."
Winners from past years:
The annual AgriFutures Rural Women's Award is open to all women working in agribusiness, and rural and regional communities, and provides a platform to support and inspire the next generation of female leaders in agriculture.
The award is supported by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and sponsored by Westpac.