The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award has returned in 2022 with four Queensland women with a common passion for rural and regional communities vying for the prestigious award.
In less than a month, Queensland will unveil the newest member of the AgriFutures Rural Women's Awards winners alumni, with Rebecca Bradshaw of Chinchilla, Jilly Tyler from Dalby and North Queenslanders Jennifer McKee, and Fiona Lake declared finalists.
The winner will receive a $15,000 Westpac bursary and represent Queensland at the national awards in October.
Innisfail woman Jennifer McKee founded and developed Grower Support, an all-in-one compliance management software platform for horticulture. If successful, she hopes to use the proceeds to further develop her business skills to expand software's presence across the horticulture industry.
Interestingly, Ms McKee did not come from a farming background or have any knowledge of software development growing up.
"I went to university to study environmental management and I got a job working for the state government in resource and environmental management and then more recently in biosecurity policy," she said.
"I was on maternity leave and wanted to do something different and I wanted to start my own business. I was helping growers prepare for their audits, just the paperwork side of things, and doing some consultancy work with the Australian Banana Growers' Council."
Townsville photographer and AgTech champion Fiona Lake is developing a project to inspire women to adopt AgTech and believes womens involvement is at the heart of accelerating uptake.
Her vision is to create a comprehensive collection of on-property video interviews-rarely heard women's practical views on the cutting-edge technology they are using.
Jilly focuses is on improving carcass utilisation. Her company has developed a range of ready-to- 'quick cook', retail-ready family meals with beef as the focus.
With a focus on provenance, Jilly's business uses Australian ingredients and suppliers to deliver a range of easily prepared meals, catering to families who like to cook and be proud of what they serve.
Rebecca is driven to make a positive change for rural and remote families through addressing the challenges of accessible child and family health services.
She has established the first private child health nurse-led service to be delivered online in Queensland.
Minister for Agricultural and Rural Communities Mark Furner said the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award supported the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities.
"The Award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities," Mr Furner said.
"Our four finalists join a 300-strong alumni that collaboratively works to shape the perception of women in regional and rural Australia and provides a network to support their future endeavours.
"This year's winner will represent Queensland at the national awards in October where they have the chance to win an additional $20,000 bursary."
Winners from past years
Westpac Regional General Manager Queensland Peta Ward said the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award was an outstanding platform for women to further develop their personal business journey.
"Women are driving innovation in our regions and Westpac is proud to continue to support the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award, to further raise awareness and publicly recognise the achievements and leadership of women in our communities," Ms Ward said.
Chair of the Queensland Rural Women's Award Alumni Committee Ann Ross said every woman had a personal journey, with no two the same.
"My vision for the Rural Women's Award is that rural women identify themselves as a movement of leaders who are proud of the role they play in developing and supporting Australia's rural industries," Ms Ross said.
Mr Furner said the winner would be announced on 10 March 2022, during Queensland Women's Week.
"Queensland's 2022 Rural Women's Award winner will follow in the footsteps of 2020 winner Elisha Parker," Mr Furner said.
"Elisha's bursary was used for new website development for her co-founded Cattlesales.com.au marketing and advertising platform to offer new online services to the Australian stud stock industry to benefit and boost the Australian cattle industry nationwide.
"Being nominated as a finalist is a great achievement and I congratulate all of this year's finalists and wish them well for the future."
Australian Community Media (ACM) is a media partner of the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.
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