2009 Runners Up

Gillian is a Veterinarian, however, her commitment to primary industries and its sustainability is principally through her voluntary work. She has represented the Macquarie Valley on the National Parks and Wildlife Community Advisory Committee, having served on that committee for 11 years.

Through the Committee Gillian developed a strong interest in the Macquarie Marshes and in how the irrigation community can be involved in conserving the marshes. She along with 30 other local landholders helped form a unit trust to purchase a small property in the Marshes called ‘Burrima’ and to manage it for conservation outcomes. Burrima is regularly visited by school, university, research and NRM groups for educational purposes.

Gillian is deeply concerned over the national water issue and the current arrangements of buying water as the sole means of achieving environmental outcomes. Her group, the Macquarie Marshes Environmental Trust, purchased a small property in the Macquarie Marshes, removed cattle from it and set about actively revegetating it. The response was spectacular, with reed beds regenerating rapidly, native plants choking out invasive weeds, and increasing biodiversity.

The work has shown what environmental gains can be achieved through improved land and water management. Gillian would like to see a larger proportion of the funds currently earmarked for water purchase being used to fund on ground projects like the one she helps to manage. In this way she believes rural communities can be sustained and can be part of the water solution.

Gillian’s Award ambition was to tour a number of wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin, focusing on those that are managed for conservation by non-government or community organisations, exploring the costs, benefits, problems and solutions they have encountered with a view to applying her learnings to the Marshes and more widely in the Basin.

2009 Victoria Runner-up - Kate Wilson

At the time of the Award, Kate Wilson had been a broadacre agronomist for the previous fifteen years and at the forefront of advising growers on sustainable agricultural practices. She was also a partner with her husband in a 5,000 hectare broad-acre cropping operation.

Kate’s key roles as a consultant included developing farm plans based on profitability and sustainability, providing clients with advice on crop rotation and variety selection, assisting with fertilizer and nutrition decisions, along with in-crop nutrition and herbicide advice, disease and pest identification and gross margin analysis. She was also an active member of the Birchip Cropping Group’s Advisory Committee, having undertaken consultancy work and delivered group training workshops to the group.

Her vision was for growers to consistently achieve their potential yields through better understanding the interaction between soil, water and the crops they grow, so that broadacre farming becomes more profitable, viable and sustainable.

Kate’s Award ambition was to undertake a study tour of the United States and Canada to gain a greater understanding of soil biology. She was particularly interested in the work of Dr Dwayne Beck at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm. Her new learnings and ideas would be disseminated back to her client base, to the Birchip Cropping Group and to the regions’ farmers.

2009 Queensland Runner-up - Wendy Agar

Wendy Agar and her family own and operate Myendetta Station, a 18,000 hectare property thirty kilometres south west of Charleville. Myendetta Station is a sheep and cattle property and a rural tourism venture and has been in Richard Agar’s family since 1890. At the time of the Award, Wendy was an active participant in a number of rural organizations including Agforce, the Future Farmers Network and the Queensland Rural Women’s Network. She was also a delegate to the Queensland Government’s Rural Women’s Symposium in Roma.

Wendy is passionate about learning and education and about promoting and marketing the bush. She underwent a steep learning curve in the seven years leading up to the Award, including undertaking training in holistic management, business management and personal development to build her business skills and decision making.

She also completed a number of short tourism courses, and in 2003 in response to drought, Myendetta Station through the Outback Queensland Tourism Association commenced a tourism operation.

Wendy’s Award ambition was to develop a series of educational webinars and teleconferences for other women on the land who had experienced the harsh realities of drought and fluctuating commodity prices.

The webinars would not only provide valuable information and discussion with informed speakers,  but also provide a network for women coping with drought and with isolation to share their experiences and to support each other.

2009 South Australia Runner-up - Ulli Spranz

Ulli Spranz is a pioneer in biological and organic farming in South Australia and she with her husband Helmet are the Principals of B-d Farm Paris Creek and Paris Creek Cheese Pty Ltd. which include a biodynamic dairy farming property, a milk processing plant and cheese manufacturing. At the time of the Award they had 38 employees, processed 2.9 million litres of milk a year and in 2008 sold in excess of $5 million of product.

She was one of the founding members of the Biodynamic and Organic Agricultural Bureau, a farmer organization established to network and exchange experiences, and was Chair of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia Ltd, recognized as the most successful biodynamic organization worldwide.

Ulli’s passion was to educate others in biodynamic and organic farming principles. Her Award ambition was to continue to grow the work she did in educating others in biodynamic farming, through conducting courses and workshops to promote biodynamic and organic farming principles and making the workshops available to not only farmers but a variety of interested people at low cost and in various geographic locations.

She planned to travel overseas to Europe to exchange information with rural women groups and to discuss environmental issues that hold worldwide significance.

2009 Western Australia Runner-up - Doris Parker

Doris Parker, along with her husband and family, manage Peedamulla Station in the Pilbara. The station was bought for Doris’ community back in 1975, when at its peak it ran 15,000 sheep and 1,500 cattle. But drought, lack of money and the fall in wool prices brought trouble to the community; Trevor and Doris took over the running of the station in 1981 and began the huge task of repaying the community’s outstanding debts, building up the cattle herd and restoring the station back to a viable concern. At the time of the Award, Doris worked as a Customer Service Officer for the Department of Child Protection at Onslow, fostering children and providing a safe rural haven for many out on Peedamulla Station.

Her life story is one of how an Aboriginal woman can have a significant impact on the sustainability of the Pilbara pastoral industry, by combining her cultural heritage and wisdom, organizational ability and maternal instinct, to become a role model for future generations of Aboriginal pastoralists.

Doris’ vision was to free the next generation from their dependence on the welfare system and on alcohol and drugs, and to instill in them her passion for the land and the stock, and to encourage in them the skills to run a top performing cattle station.

Her Award ambition was to write a book documenting her life story, so exposing the next generation to the wisdom of their elders and by doing so provide leadership and encouragement, to steer for them a path of higher expectations. She was also seeking training in leadership to assist her with engaging the youth in culture and to voice the wisdom of Aboriginal women in steering the younger women to believe in themselves and in their future.

2009 Tasmania Runner-Up - Jane Huntington

Jane and her husband are the principals in the family farm business The Two Metre Tall Company. The business is based at their property ‘Charlemont’ in the Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania.

Jane and her husband came to farming via the wine industry and they have successfully transferred their understanding and expertise in the winery to a grain growing and brewery business. They value add their grains by making naturally fermented and hand-made real ale on farm. Diversification into real ales significantly drought proofed their farm and made their business much more robust than had they been relying on commodity markets for sale of grain alone.

She had a vision for beer manufacturing that uses much larger percentages of Australian grown and processed malt as well as a greater selection of grain varieties for an increased flavour spectrum.

Jane’s Award ambition was to travel to England to research their well established malt barley industry. She wanted to study relationships as they already exist between contracted grain growers and the specialist floor malting companies. She also wanted to tap into their experience on the relationship between grain variety and beer quality.

Jane’s believed the study tour, in bringing back new knowledge from the established malt barley industry, would not only be extremely valuable to the expansion of her business but to the future development of this niche industry nationally.

2009 Northern Territory Runner-up - Moira Lanzarin

Moira comes from modern pioneering stock and at the time of the Award was a Director of family-run Coodardie Brahmans. They operate two cattle properties, Coodardie and Numul Numul Station in the Mataranka region of the Northern Territory. They run approximately 3000 head of Brahman cattle and Moira co-directs the business, selling and promoting Coodardie stud cattle across the north.

Moira is an active member of Australian Women in Agriculture andwas a keynote speaker at the 2000 National Conference in Darwin. She has also represented Northern Australia on the Deputy Prime Minister’s Inaugural Regional Women’s Advisory Council, and she has represented the Territory at the World Congress of Young Farmers in Paris in 2003 and was appointed to the first Federal Council of Young Farmers in 2006.

Moira believes that rural Australia is facing increasingly difficult times that will require new skills and greater adaptability to handle change. She believes holistic management  is a decision making framework that provides real tools to help individuals make better decisions which will simultaneously lead to a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable land, business and community.

Moira’s Award ambition was to become a Certified Educator in Holistic Management for northern Australia. Her ambition was to be accepted into the Holistic Management International’s Certified Educator Program, to undertake training, to travel to the International Holistic Management Institute in Albuquerque in the US to meet with HM practitioners, and to return with greater knowledge and exposure and to share her learning’s through her local Learning Community with northern Australia.