Rural Women’s Award to allow commercial projects and good ideas

Sheep Central, October 18, 2017

A NEW-LOOK 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award includes some new changes to allow projects with a commercial focus or those that are simply good ideas, solutions or opportunities.

Australia’s agricultural sector has less than two weeks to nominate candidates for the 2018 award, with applications closing on Sunday, October 29.

AgriFutures – formerly known as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) – is encouraging emerging female leaders from across the country to apply for the  award, which acknowledges the role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.

To align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction and to ensure the Rural Women’s Award continues to identify, celebrate and empower women, a number of changes have been made to the award criteria for 2018.

AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said it is an exciting time ahead and the changes to the Rural Women’s Award is just one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring rural and regional industries prosper now and into the future,” Mr Harvey said.

“One of the important changes to the 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is that projects or initiatives can be commercially focused, providing they still align with AgriFutures Australia’s strategic priorities of innovation, creativity, community sustainability, education, productivity, agribusiness, regional development and technology.”

Another important change to the award criteria is applicants are not required to have a specific project to be considered eligible, although projects are still welcomed. This year, applications can be submitted based on an idea, an identified problem, or an opportunity the applicant wants to focus on. Applicants may be in the early stages of working through how they want to contribute, or they may be well down the road in making their contribution.

“As has been the case in previous years, location is also no barrier – applicants can live in rural and regional Australia, or in the city – their applications will be measured on the impact and benefits to rural and regional Australia,” Mr Harvey said.

Anyone who wants to innovate and make a difference, or contribute to enhancing the prosperity of rural and regional Australia should apply, he said.

“The award provides a life-changing opportunity for women to use and develop their skills to make a difference and benefit their industries and communities.”

The award has been renamed to align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction on the changing face of agriculture, where technology is transforming the sector and successful and impactful leaders are skilled, professional, dynamic, entrepreneurial, commercially savvy and connected. 

“Over the past two decades, the Rural Women’s Award has provided more than 200 women with significant professional development opportunities and importantly the opportunity to achieve positive change for rural and regional Australia.

“Award winners have delivered diverse and innovative projects relating to rural and regional industries, and the communities and businesses that rely on, and support them,” Mr Harvey said.

Each state and territory winner receives a $10,000 bursary provided by Platinum sponsor Westpac, to bring their idea or project to life, access to professional development opportunities and national alumni networks. The 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner and Runner Up, selected from the state and territory winners, and announced at a Gala event at Parliament House in Canberra in September 2018, will receive a further $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Applications for the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award are open now and close on Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 9pm AEDT.

Source: AgriFutures. For more information and to apply, visit


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