Victoria’s rural women’s award finalists announced

Sheep Central, February 17, 2020

Victoria’s rural women’s award finalists, from left, Jackie Elliott, Kerryn Wildenburg, Katriona van Eyk and Kelly Barnes.

VICTORIAN women with visions to create a working dog school, a food forest, a community toolkit and a learn-to-swim program are finalists in state’s section of the 2020 AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award to be announced in March.

The award encourages Australian women to develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities, including Victoria’s $14.9 billion agriculture sector.

Victoria’s finalists include:

  • Kelly Barnes from Dunkeld, who wants to establish a working dog training school that delivers practical skills but also aims to increase resilience and connectedness in rural communities.
  • Jackie Elliott from Byaduk, who wants to create a toolkit for other regional communities to host their own International Rural Women’s Day celebrations to connect rural women and address isolation. Jackie hosted a very successful one-day event in Western Victoria in October 2019, providing valuable networking and development opportunities for women in her region.
  • Kerryn Wildenburg from Kyneton, who wants to create a permaculture ‘Food Forest’ to provide vulnerable community members with a place where they can learn to grow and cook nutritious food. Kerryn’s project will also make a valuable contribution to the community food bank.
  • Katrina van Eyk from Pyramid Hill, who wants to expand on an affordable eight-week summer Learn-to-Swim program in regional communities that makes the most of under-utilised community pools and boosts physical and mental health.

The Victorian winner will be announced at a ceremony on 24 March and will receive $10,000 to implement her project. The national winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Canberra on 15 September.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes said Victoria’s resilient and innovative rural women are at the forefront of driving change across Australia.

“I congratulate our four finalists who will do our state proud.”

“We’re getting on with driving growth in agriculture, creating jobs and supporting the wellbeing of our regional and rural communities,” she said.

“We are proud to support the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, and to acknowledge and support the essential role women play in rural and regional industries, businesses and communities.”

In addition to the Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, the Andrews Labor Government is supporting Victorian women in agriculture with the Rural Women’s Network, working with rural women’s groups and individuals to encourage women to have a more active voice in government and community decision-making.

For more information about the award, visit


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