AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni Committee of State Chairs Announced


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Seven passionate AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni have been selected as the inaugural AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni Committee of State Chairs.

Ann Ross (QLD), Catherine Marriott (VIC), Donna Digby (NT), Jeanette Long (SA), Jo Palmer (NSW/ACT), Karen Brock (TAS) and Lucy Anderton (WA) will form the Committee.

This exciting new committee was one of the outcomes of working alongside the Rural Women’s Award Alumni Advisory Panel to review data, listen, explore, unpack, and reinvigorate the very important Rural Women’s Award Program.

It was decided that the Committee of State Chairs would replace the Alumni Advisory Panel, with one Chair in each state or territory to champion the Award, grow the profile of the Award and create connections and opportunities for all Alumni.

Each of the State Chairs who have been selected are adaptive and collaborative, and are looking forward to building cohesion within their own state or territory and driving collaboration and information sharing between other states and territories. Each of the women will also be responsible for pulling together their own small State Committee, made up of Alumni volunteers. So, if you are a member of the Rural Women’s Award Alumni and would like to be involved, email us at and we can put you in touch with your respective State Chair.

Jeanette Long – SA State Chair

Jeanette Long is a passionate advocate for rural women. Based in SA she farms with her husband, Bill, and son, Will, on Eyre Peninsula and in the Mid North. She works as a facilitator, trainer and coach across Australia and New Zealand, influencing positive change in agriculture as well as working with rural women’s groups. This has included co-facilitating the SA PIRSA funded Stepping into Leadership program for the last nine years.

Jo Palmer – NSW/ACT State Chair

Jo is the Founder and Managing Director of Pointer Remote, a company that supports communities, businesses and individuals to leverage remote work to grow, through recruitment and training. She is particularly passionate about how remote work is an economic development tool to attract and retain populations in the regions. Pointer Remote runs training programs that support business owners to make remote and flexible work actually work in an organisation, as well as supporting team members to be the most effective and efficient remote worker possible.

Her recognition includes 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner, 2018 Crow Awards Startup Superstar and Young Entrepreneur Awards, 2017 Soar Awards Regional Contribution winner and 2017 Finalist in the Regional Australia Institute’s Lightbulb Moments and Regional Online Heroes competitions.

Ann Ross – QLD State Chair

Ann has a background in start-ups with a focus on emerging industries and is a regionally renowned bee keeper based on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. Her company Hive Haven specialises in the manufacture of award-winning native bee boxes and the production of Australian stingless bee honey and pollinator seed mixes.

Ann’s future 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. Ann believes that every woman has a personal journey, with no two the same.

Ann’s aspiration for the rural industry is ‘conservation of the food chain’. Ann says we currently utilise approximately 1% of edible plant species to fuel our diets. Ann is committed to supporting more innovation around the development of highly nutritional food sources.

Donna Digby – NT State Chair

Donna Digby is currently employed as a Senior Industry Development Officer, NT Government based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). Donna is a passionate advocate for the Territory, for thriving regions and communities and for rural women to lean in, learn and lead. Donna looks forward to drawing on her networks and working with others to build connections, collaborate and champion the Rural Women’s Award in the NT.

Donna is currently completing the Australian Rural Leadership Program (Course 27), was a finalist in the 2019 NT Rural Women’s Award and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her previous Board experience includes; NT Director (Australian Women in Agriculture), National Rural Women’s Coalition and the Australian Native Foods and Botanicals.

Lucy Anderton – WA State Chair

Lucy farms in partnership with her husband in a broad acre mixed farming enterprise. They grow prime lambs, wool and grain in Fitzgerald and Frankland. As an agriculture economist her experience includes working for government in economics and policy, rural financial counselling, and farm business management.

Lucy recognised the need for an easy-to-use tool to assist with decisions and communication on their farm. Working with key agricultural stakeholders, Lucy designed myFARMSMART. A whole-farm decision support tool for farmers with a focus on understanding risk and financial outcomes. This was her project as a finalist in 2020 for the Rural Women’s Award.

Catherine Marriott – VIC State Chair

Over the last 18 years, Catherine has worked in management, strategic and leadership roles in the agricultural, research and regional development sectors in Australia and internationally.

She is passionate about the people side of agriculture, learning from and sharing with others. Mentoring, particularly women, is a role she plays with enthusiasm as she believes to have vibrant rural communities, you need confident, supported rural women.

She uses her Rural Science degree to understand the technical aspects of agriculture, while her experience in business helps her connect with people and maximise opportunities for others. Catherine has worked as a consultant, an entrepreneur, a CEO and has sat on a number of boards both in Australia and internationally.

She is UNE’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was the 2012 WA AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Winner.

Karen Brock – TAS State Chair

Karen Brock is passionate about developing vibrant, exciting industry associations to encourage young people to learn the various aspects such as technology, Internet of Things, science, the essential oil industry & outdoor living.

As the proud winner of the 2020 TAS Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, Karen was acknowledged for her important work in delivering improvements to the food production and cut flower sectors.

Karen has also been an active board member & volunteer of the Nursery & Garden Industry Australia since 2008 and held the role of President from 2017. In 2019 she became a Board Member and President of Greenlife Industry Australia.

As a 2014 Nuffield Scholar, Karen explored extensive cutting-edge research from the world’s key researchers.

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