Dunkeld animal champion wins 2020 AgriFutures Victorian Rural Women’s Award


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A Dunkeld farmer’s passion to boost the resilience of her local community by building connections through animals has seen her take out the 2020 AgriFutures Victorian Rural Women’s Award.


Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Kelly Barnes as the winner of the prestigious award, and Victoria’s candidate for the national title to be awarded in Canberra later in the year.

“The passion and commitment of Kelly Barnes and the other Victorian finalists to make their local community a better place is simply outstanding.

“Women make a fantastic contribution to country communities and are excellent at networking and supporting one another – characteristics that will certainly help us remain resilient during these current challenging times,” Minister Symes said.

Ms Barnes will receive a $10,000 Westpac bursary to help her pilot a Working Dog Training School in Dunkeld.

The idea for the Working Dog Training School came from Ms Barnes’ love and respect for her working dogs. She believes working dogs are a great way to bring people together, not only to improve their dog handling skills but also to break down social barriers and aid mental health.

Ms Barnes was one of four finalists for the prestigious award, alongside Kerryn Wildenburg from Kyneton, Jackie Elliott from Byaduk, and Katrina van Eyk from Pyramid Hill.

Each of the 2020 Victorian finalists will join the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni in recognition of their achievements.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award acknowledges the significant role women play in agriculture and rural communities. The award is supported by Agriculture Victoria and is sponsored nationally by AgriFutures and Westpac.

Unfortunately no event to celebrate the finalists’ achievements was possible this year due to the Government’s responsibilities responding to the coronavirus crisis. Each finalist was able to speak with the Minister and there are plans for an event when circumstances permit.

For more information on the Rural Women’s Award visit: https://agrifutures.com.au/people-leadership/rural-womens-award/

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