The hunt is on to find the agricultural industry's next female trailblazer with the launch of the Female Farmers of the Future project.
The pilot project is for women who are based in Victoria' have entered the agricultural industry from a non-farming background and are looking to create change.
Female Farmers of the Future is funded by an Australian Government's Drought Resilience Ideas Grant and is being delivered via a partnership between CQUniversity' the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub' Birchip Cropping Group' Food and Fibre Gippsland' and Riverine Plains.
CQUniversity Research Fellow and leader of the Agricultural Education and Extension Cluster Dr Amy Cosby says the project is directed at women because increased innovation and technology have made their role in the industry more important than ever.
"We are seeing a boom in the demand for new skills and innovation to address drought resilience and improved on- and off-farm practices'" Dr Cosby said.
"This provides more opportunity for women to take on leadership positions across the supply chain because we know that for generations they have been socially conditioned to be the caregivers' project managers' problem solvers and initiative takers."
"This positions women as great change makers for bridging the gap between the rest of the world and Australia in the adoption of agricultural technology and digital agriculture."
A female who has entered the agricultural industry from a non-farming background will be chosen to participate in this pilot program and they will receive:
- $5'000 cash contribution to purchase and install a commercially available agri-tech system on their farm'
- Access to industry professionals and leading researchers that will mentor them through the selection and installation of the agri-tech system'
- Increased skills' confidence' and leadership experience'
- Opportunities to share experience with like-minded women who have followed a similar path.
Dr Sara Hely from Riverine Plains said the project would test and help establish a process model for other women who have followed this path.
"Riverine Plains is thrilled to be part of this exciting project as our experience with members in our region shows a talent pool of forward-thinking women who are ready and able to tackle big and complex problems with AgTech and Digital Ag." she said.
"Sometimes all it takes is a little push to create transformative change' and we believe this program embodies this. While it will start small with providing one woman an opportunity' we believe it will grow to many' who are able to bring positive change to agricultural communities here in the Riverine Plains."
Applications close: 16 September 2022
Selection interviews: 26 – 30 September 2022
Successful applicant announced: 7 October 2022
For more information and to apply go to: womeninagri-tech.com/drought/