2007 Runners Up

2007 New South Wales Runner-up - Fiona Kliendeinst

At the time of the Award, Fiona Kliendeinst was an ultra-fine wool producer  who with her husband operated an OFDA testing business from outside Uralla in northern New South Wales.

She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of New England and holds corporate experience at Solutions Marketing and Research Group, the Biological Wool Harvesting Company and ABRI Breed plan.

Her frustration with the lack of availability of wool garments and woolen materials saw Fiona become involved in the Australian Wool Fashion Awards and involved in work with the Sheep CRC and CSIRO in trialling wools for quality performance.

She started up a small business for made to measure woollen garments made from 100 percent Australian wool and produced by local rural women who produce the wool.

Her vision was to grow the business, to expand into larger premises and to employ more rural women. She planned within five years to have a fully operational studio with five full time seamstresses and two cutting and finishing staff and a showroom open to the public, full of beautiful wool and wool blend materials and garments.

Her long term vision was to have a fully vertically integrated operation, complete with scouring and processing mill, dying spinning, weaving and finishing facilities, and a full time staff of over 150 women designing, sewing and promoting Australian wool to the world.

Fiona planned to travel to Italy to attend the Fashion and Apparel Show in Milan, where all the international mills showcase their runs, and to visit wool processing mills and fashion houses, to make contacts and learn from them the industry beyond the farm gate and the needs and demands of the international market.

She believed the knowledge and experience gained would be invaluable in turning her cottage industry into a successful business venture for the region’s producers and a significant employer of the region’s rural women.

2007 Victoria Runner-up - Vera Fleming

At the time of the Award, Vera Fleming and her husband owned and operated a mixed fruit orchard in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria. Vera is a leader in her own right, representing her industry and rural women across of number of platforms tackling issues such salinity, water conservation and pest management.

She has held a number of key positions including past President of the Goulburn Valley Women in Agriculture and former Member of the DPIE Pear Industry Steering Committee and Goulburn Valley Water. At the time of the Award, she was Chair of the Shepparton Fruit Growers Association.

Her ambition was to demonstrate a profitable farm business, complimented with a diversity of value added products, such as fruit juices and wines, condiments and confectionary.

Her project titled ‘The Spirit of the Valley’ involved visiting similar farm businesses within Victoria and interstate and learning from their value adding and niche marketing initiatives. She hoped to identify new innovative marketing, packaging and branding tools and to extend her network of manufacturers and suppliers so that she could develop a tool kit of innovative ideas and networks to disseminate to other women and regions.

Vera hoped that through her project local women and in particular culturally and linguistically diverse women (CALD) would be encouraged to look beyond pure production to value adding opportunities and be encouraged to develop new business ventures for themselves. She hoped to develop her leadership and mentoring capacity to enable her to better support women within her community.

2007 Queensland Runner-up - Linda Jaques

Linda Jaques and her husband Nat are Australia’s coffee industry pioneers, having established the first ever coffee plantation in the Cairns Highlands in 1979.

The Jaques family were responsible for developing much of the industry’s technology including Australia’s first coffee harvester and have been fundamental to the survival and success of the Australian coffee industry.

At the time of the Award, the coffee roasting, distribution and wholesaling industry in Australia was worth around $10 billion a year and growing fast. The Jaques family owned and operated Jaques Australian Coffee at Mareeba, a successful award winning coffee and agritourism venture, which produced over 31 tonnes a coffee a year.

Linda’s goal was to produce Australia’s first naturally produced caffeine free coffee, as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to decaffeinated coffee. Three naturally grown caffeine free, high quality Arabica plants were discovered in Ethiopia by Brazilian scientists.

Her proposed activity was to travel to the University of Campinas at Sao Paulo in Brazil to meet with the scientists responsible for the discovery, to work with them to source tissue culture and to gain some insight into the cultivation of the plants. She plans to cultivate and grow out the cultures, to then plant out the trees, a process she estimated would take five years before the trees can be harvested and available to the broader industry.

Linda also proposed to establish a bursary out of the proceeds generated from caffeine free coffee, to benefit rural women in Ethiopia. She believed her project offered enormous potential in providing a healthy and environmentally friendly caffeine free coffee and as a new rural industry for Australia.

2007 South Australia Runner-up - Natasha Mooney

At the time of the Award, Natasha Mooney had been heavily involved in the South Australian wine industry for the previous 15 years. During that time she saw the fortunes of the industry and its people shift markedly as they were forced to cope with severe water shortages, oversupply of grapes and softer export markets.

Natasha’s vision was to help turn around the fortunes of growers and the industry by developing a new grape beverage and in effect new markets for grapes. Her concept was a natural sparkling grape juice to be produced from excess red wines grapes – grapes that are currently left on the vine to rot.

The product would be essentially a grape juice based on any selection of red wine grapes, subjected to only partial fermentation and resulting in a sparkling and sweet grape juice with significantly reduced alcohol content.

Natasha’s proposed activity involved taking the product from early testing and trialling to commercial reality. Her activity involved further product trialling and development, combined with research into branding, packaging and marketing, both domestically and internationally.

While her product had some way to go before it became a commercial reality, she believed  that if successful, the beverage would provide growers with a new market avenue for their grapes, so helping reduce the current glut and helping to stabilize returns to growers.

2007 Western Australia Runner-up - Pia Boschetti

At the time of the Award, Pia Boschetti was part of a professional fishing family involved in a number of fisheries, including the northern prawn fishery, the western rock lobster and the demersal long line fishing industries. But her passion and profession for the previous seven years had been pearl farming.

Pia farmed pearls at the Abrolhos Islands off Geraldton, believed to be the most southern point in the world to commercially culture black pearls. At the time of the Award, her farm was one of the major producers of Australian black pearls in Western Australia.

The major pearling industry in Australia, based in the Broome region, is the maxima industry or the larger white pearls, with all other pearls, including the black pearl, the Japanese Akoya oyster pearl and the wing shell referred to as the non-maxima industry.

While Pia’s farm was dedicated to the production of black pearls, they successfully trialled the production of high quality and larger than average size Akoya pearls.

With the Japanese produced Akoya pearl in serious decline due to pollution and disease, the implications for the Australian pearl industry were potentially huge, with anecdotal feedback from the export markets very encouraging.

Pia’s ambition was to produce Akoya pearls of a high grade that had not been seen in the Japanese markets for several years. Her proposed activity was to explore further the techniques for Akoya production in Japan and to investigate further the opportunities for both Akoya and black pearls into the Japanese and European markets.

2007 Tasmania Runner-up - Gail Menegon

At the time of the Award, Gail was a livestock producer, and in partnership with her husband they bred Murray Grey cattle, White Suffolk sheep and Standard bred horses in northern Tasmania.

The Murray Grey cattle stud had been operating for the previous ten years and while they had bred and raced standard bred horses as a hobby for the previous 20 years, 2007 was the first year Gail and husband Lyndon  bred yearlings for sale for the inaugural Magic Millions Standard bred sale on 1 March.

Gail was also actively involved in her industry, having served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Tasmanian Murray Grey Breed Promotion Group for the previous six years. She also served on the Beef Cattle Committee of the Royal Launceston Show and was a member of the Tasmanian White Suffolk Promotion Group.

Gail’s vision was to raise awareness and the level of information on the nutrition, education and presentation of yearling Standard bred horses for sale. Her proposal was borne out of a desire to gain skills and valuable information on nutrition and presentation of yearlings for sale and the harness racing industry in general. She planned to undertake study tours of established and successful breeding studs in New Zealand, New South Wales and Victoria, to attend forums on the nutrition and education of horses and to meet with experts in the field.

She hoped to share the information and skills acquired with other harness racing participants, and also hoped that her achievements would empower other women to create new opportunities and in turn strengthen primary industries.

2007 Northern Territory Runner-up - Tina MacFarlane

Tina MacFarlane has been involved in the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory for most of her professional life, from a jillaroo mustering cattle and mending fences to being and equal partner in a stud and commercial Brahman beef cattle operation outside Mataranka.

Tina and her husband, in the space of 25 years,  converted 150 square kilometres of scrub country into a highly developed property, boasting numerous watering points, improved pastures and a network of paddocks to accommodate their herd of 1000 head.

Their holistic approach to managing the property, involving a higher rotation of cattle through smaller paddocks delivered a number of benefits, including improved soil structure, reduced weed pressures, less reliance of herbicides and pesticides, and an increased conception and calving rate.

Tina’s quest to improve the carcass traits and eating quality of their cattle led her to the relatively new technology of ultrasound scanning. The technology allows for accurate and objective recording of carcass quality traits such as eye muscle area, subcutaneous fat cover and intra muscular fat or marbling.

The data is able to be collected and recorded through Breedplan, the national beef cattle genetic evaluation system, thereby aiding buyers in their selection of cattle for meat quality and carcass traits and assisting in targeting specific market requirements.

However with no accredited scanners available in the Territory, Tina’s proposed activity was to become an accredited scanner for the benefit of her own operation and to be able to assist other producers become accredited to Breedplan and to produce cattle better suited to their markets.