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Australia's National Farmers Federation unveils its 2021 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program

22 May 2021

A cohort of 12 skilled, talented and ambitious women, professionals in areas as diverse as station management, animal science and international trade make up this year’s National Farmers Federation (NFF) Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

Selected from 100 applicants, the women will soon embark on an intensive one-on-one mentoring program, to assist them to determine their leadership goals and the role they want to play in the future of Australian agriculture.

(Pictured above from left in the below order)

  • Anna Harrison, Mungindi, NSW
  • Anna Hooper, Mitcham, SA
  • Brie Montgomery, Winmalee, NSW
  • Gillian Fennell, Marla, SA
  • Janice Liu, Gosford, NSW
  • Latarnie McDonald, Bendigo, VIC
  • Lucy Staughton, Gunnedah, NSW
  • Mary Vaughan, Mount Isa, QLD
  • Miffy Gilbert, Glen Iris, VIC
  • Prudence Cook, Dimboola, VIC
  • Sally Murfet, Sorell, TAS
  • Tracy Sullivan, Broome, WA

“I’m inspired that the Program, now in its fourth year continues to resonate with women across Australia,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

“The success of Australian agriculture to date has hinged on men and women working together on farm. However, providing a pathway for women to transcend to leadership positions has not materialised as fast as it should have.”

Ms Simson said in 2021, the Program was making a difference, creating the pathways and networks needed to ensure gender parity in the roles that would shape the agriculture of tomorrow. Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program graduates have gone on to hold industry board positions and to be changemakers within their sectors and communities.

Ms Simson said the Program was underpinned by a group of more than 20 committed partners, including government agencies, multi-national corporations, and farm advocacy bodies.

“Our Partners publicly pledge to make meaningful change towards gender diversity and to report on the steps taken towards this goal.

“The targets, plans and innovations Partners continue to put in place to ensure female and male voices are heard equally are making a difference: from introducing designated breast-feeding rooms; and more flexible work arrangements to doing more to encourage and incentivise men to take parental leave,” Ms Simson said.

The 2021 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program cohort will come to Canberra in June for an introductory retreat, where they will meet each other, their mentors and hear from inspiring speakers. The group will complete their mentoring and graduate at the NFF’s National Conference in September.

“Like in previous years, the Program attracted a high volume of very high calibre applicants and I am left in no doubt that the future of our sector’s leadership is bright, if as an industry we continue to foster the development of our people,” Ms Simson said.

“I congratulate this year’s group and I look forward to getting to know these 12 outstanding women and supporting them on their leadership journey.”

The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program is a flagship initiative of the NFF and NFF’s goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership by 2030, based on a 2018 benchmark.

See the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program alumni here.



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