2013 Runners Up

2013 New South Wales runner-up - Vivien Thomson

Vivien’s Award ambition is to provide leadership tools for women who have demonstrated a level of leadership in the rural fire community area by building a skill set to manage risks and be better prepared to make leadership decisions.

Vivien has a passion for developing women’s involvement and leadership in rural industries. Since 1998 Vivien has been involved with Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA), and is currently the organisation’s Vice President.

Vivien has also been a mentor for the National Rural Women’s Coalition E-Learning Project, which assisted women to achieve their goals within their own industry; is a member of the New South Wales Women in Ag organisation; has been a trainer, captain incident controller and mentor to women in the fire industry for over 25 years; was the first female in the Australian Capital Territory to qualify for an Australian Fire Service medal; and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership program.

Vivien believes that women bring a unique resilience to disaster management, where often women play vital roles in the preparation and recovery of disaster events both in the home and the community. However, women are still under represented in decision-making processes and leadership structures in disaster management enterprises.

Vivien’s Award ambition is to provide a leadership toolbox for women in rural fire community areas to build skills in leadership and risk management. Vivien hopes that this toolbox will provide women with the capabilities to become leaders in their communities and empower other women.

2013 Victoria runner-up - Joanne Clifford

Joanne’s Award ambition is to develop a working model for collaborative farm practice ‘Alexander’s Farm Gate & Shared Table’, in order to improve the prosperity of farmers through sharing resources such as land, equipment, workspace, labour, skills and knowledge.

Joanne is a primary producer and grows wine grapes, beef cattle, lambs and fine wool merinos with her husband in Faraday, Central Victoria.

Joanne is passionate about food, the people who grow it and raising the awareness of the importance of primary industries in her region. Joanne is a founding member of the Australian Food Hubs Network, has developed education and community programs around food production, and in 2012 initiated, created and delivered the ‘Growing Our Local Food Economy’ forum which addressed the future of food and primary production in the Mount Alexander Shire.

As a community connector, Joanne is also actively involved in her local community as part of the Sutton Grange Landcare Group; Mount Alexander Sustainability Group; Connecting Country and Growing Abundance Program; and is fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

Joanne’s Award ambition is to see Australian agriculture become a culture of celebrating and sharing food, the land and prosperity through the creation of open gate, on-farm communities working, learning, growing and eating together. Her model for change ‘Alexander’s Farm Gate & Shared Table’, aims to contribute to this vision and to help develop this food culture. At the heart of this model is personal prosperity and sustainability for farmers, which is attainable through the sharing of farm resources such as the land, equipment, workspace, labour, skills and knowledge.

2013 Queensland runner-up - Terressa Ford

Terressa’s Award ambition is to host a series of workshops to up skill rural women and their families in finance, technology, mental health and wellbeing to help them make business decisions with confidence.

Terressa is an active member of the north-west Queensland beef community. Originally from a cane farm near Bundaberg and following a teaching career which led her to Mareeba and Brisbane, Terressa moved to Hughenden after meeting her husband.

Since this time Terressa has been strongly involved in her community, starting as a Country Matron supporting many local community groups. In 2004 she became secretary for the local Agforce branch and became a founding member of the Flinders Beef Challenge, which aims to provide an avenue for producers to learn about the production capabilities of their cattle.

This event also provides social support for producers, where both men and women are encouraged to participate.

Through her community work, Terressa has identified a need to up skill rural women, to help them stay abreast of important issues and assist them to make business decisions with confidence.

Terressa’s Award ambition is to host a series of three workshops over six months to up skill rural women and their families in finance, technology, mental health and wellbeing. She hopes to establish an ongoing network that provides a social outlet to assist with maintaining good mental health. Participants can be women from primary industries, local small business owners and interested women from other western and gulf communities.

2013 South Australia runner-up - Mardi Longbottom

Mardi’s Award ambition is to show the diversity of roles available in the grape and wine sector with the aim of facilitating discussion about careers within this sector.

Mardi is a grape grower, viticulturist and viticultural consultant with 21 years experience in vineyard management, technical viticulture, viticulture research and education.

Mardi has worked across Australia, including the Limestone Coast, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Barossa wine region. With a passion for sustainability for the Australian wine Industry Mardi volunteers her time to provide content and feedback to the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia and Freshcare Ltd; has trained and supported more than 400 grape growers to achieve environmental certification; and works at the Australian Wine Research Institute to support grape growers in their pursuit of sustainable and profitable wine businesses.

She has also been an active member of regional technical groups; holds an honorary role as Visiting Research Fellow and voluntary viticulture lecturer at the University of Adelaide; and has a professional membership with the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology.

In these roles Mardi has been both mentor and mentee to many women working in the wine industry, but often found that women’s work was at a lower level and usually used to supplement family income.

Mardi’s Award ambition is to show the diversity of roles available in the grape and wine sector with the aim of facilitating discussion about careers within this sector. Borne during her time as a lecturer in viticulture, Mardi noticed that the number of students entering Viticulture degrees were traditionally low, and even lower for women.

Mardi plans to develop a video, ‘a day in the lives’, to showcase positive female role models who are actively engaged in primary industries, and promote viticulture as a diverse and exciting career path way to high school students. This will be followed by a discussion about careers in the grape and wine sector.

2013 Western Australia runner-up - Leilani Leyland

Leilani’s Award ambition is to support the Honey Week event to promote the importance of bees, honey and the bee industry to the general public.

Leilani has 28 years of experience in the beekeeping industry with a passion to educate the public about bees, honey and the industry at large.

Leilani has been involved with various education programs, at both primary and high school levels to educate students and teachers on the importance of the industry and to display the work involved in producing honey. She also conducts demonstrations and talks at her property and promotes honey at various regional shows, including Dowerin Field day.

In addition to Leilani’s educational commitments, she is activity involved in a number of Beekeeping committees including Secretary and Treasurer of the Pollination Association of Western Australia; Secretary and Committee member of the Agricultural Producers Beekeepers Committee; Committee member of the Western Australian Farmers Beekeepers; and Secretary and Treasurer of the Jarrah Honey Promotions Committee which promotes the healing qualities of honey.

Whilst beekeeping plays a vital role in the pollination of fruits and vegetables and is a valuable and sustainable industry, beekeepers are constantly excluded from native forests through burning, designated national parks and urban development.

Honey Week was a concept put forward by Super Bee Honey Factory New South Wales to facilitate the promotion of the Australian honey industry with the idea to educate the Australian public at a national level on the importance of Australian beekeeping, bees honey and food diversity in Australia.

Leilani’s Award ambition is to continue to develop and promote Honey Week in the media in the form of advertising and exhibitor expenses in order to educate consumers about the values of Australian honeys and the industry at large.

2013 Tasmania runner-up - Georgie Bond

Georgie’s Award ambition is to build upon existing international relations and develop new markets for Tasmanian Lamb.

Georgie is a third generation farmer and manages her family owned lamb Feedlot in the Northern Midlands of Tasmania.

After attending the University of Tasmania and completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours, Georgie worked for Australia Meat Holdings for several years to build her skills in Feedlot Management. In 2011 Georgie returned to her family farm with the aim of increasing the property’s feedlot facilities. Through her management, the farm now has grain fed lamb accreditation from the Livestock Production Accreditation Scheme, being only the seventh feedlot in Australia to do so.

Georgie is currently managing international, particularly Japanese and large supermarket clients by providing consistently high quality produce produced on a marketable scale.

She has also been involved in the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre Bred Fed Well program; has hosted numerous feedlot tours to local and international farming groups; and organises monthly networking meetings with university and local farming groups.

Georgie’s ambition is to build upon existing international relations and develop new markets for Tasmanian Lamb. She aims for Tasmanian lamb to be a product of choice for overseas customers, particularly in the face of the difficulty in accessing export markets. Georgie plans to travel to Japan and Dubai to conduct lamb market research.

Georgie also hopes to be a role model to demonstrate what is achievable for women in agriculture. She believes that there is no longer an imaginary line in the sand of where women fit into agriculture. Today women can be successful in any area they wish to be.

2013 Northern Territory runner up