Rural Women’s Award finalists championing rural SA

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Four leading South Australian women – each passionate about improving their local community or industry ­– have been named as finalists for the South Australian 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.

The award helps women bring to life a project or initiative to benefit rural industries and communities, with a $10,000 Westpac bursary.

Acting Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan praised the four finalists as exceptional individuals and valuable contributors to their communities.

"I congratulate Marie Ellul from Adelaide, Rebecca Sullivan from Amargh in the Mid North, Stephanie Schmidt from Worlds End in the Mid North and Kellie Taylor from Cummins on the Eyre Peninsula," said Acting Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

"This year's finalists have proposed a diverse and innovative range of projects for the bursary, from building resilience skills and livestock breeding to native foods and linking industry with schools.

"These women play key roles in supporting regional South Australia and often bind their community or industry together.

"Already shining bright in their respective fields, our 2020 South Australian finalists all demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and commitment to regional industries, businesses and communities.

"It's clear this year's finalists are integral to the success of their industries and communities and I wish them the best for the award final."

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director John Harvey congratulated the finalists on their passion and commitment to building capacity in their fields.

"This award enables women to be part of a unique experience to build their skills and develop personally and professionally – it's an outstanding opportunity to be part of," said Mr Harvey.

The state winner will be announced at an event in March 2020. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 Westpac bursary to help progress their winning project, as well as receiving professional development opportunities and joining the impressive Alumni network.

The South Australian winner will then go on to represent the State at the national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Gala Dinner in Canberra on Tuesday 15 September 2020.

Visit or see over the page for Information about the finalists.

Marie Ellul

Marie is a part-time MBA student and Manager for a start-up company specialising in improving the quality of livestock breeding. Her personal interests and academic background is reproductive biology, specifically cattle embryos.

Marie will use the bursary to provide training to embryo providers in rural Australia and give them an opportunity to have a head start in adapting to this IVF technology. This will be through developing a sterile system (and lab), training of techniques and ongoing consultancy and assistance.

Rebecca Sullivan

Rebecca works to protect culture, people and the planet through food and empowers rural communities by championing the work of farmers through Granny Skills and Warndu. She is passionate about the native food industry.

Living on a 90-acre property in Clare, Rebecca is building a food and farming school, eco accommodation and a seed library. She will use the bursary to create a demonstration garden for local farmers to see value add propositions for their own land.

Stephanie Schmidt

As a clinical psychologist and farmer, Stephanie is passionate about developing a resilient rural Australia, supporting individuals and communities to not only grow, but to thrive. She has been significantly impacted by the drought and would like to see psychological flexibility grow throughout the rural sector.

Stephanie plans to use the bursary to develop a program specifically for farming couples, families and individuals, combining psychological knowledge including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and neuroscience, together with her lived experience of the challenges of farming and rural life. The program will develop and harness skills around value-driven action, building connection and relationships and increasing vitality even in adversity.

Kellie Taylor

With a background in nanotechnology, Kellie is driven by challenges and the prospect of learning and sharing knowledge. Based on Eyre Peninsula, she would like to see the roll out of programs across regional EP where industry and schools are linked.

Kellie will use the bursary to pilot a program that connects industry and schools to collaborate locally on research opportunities that business have identified as relevant to the community. She wants rural youth to grow up as innovative thinkers with a sense of belonging and ownership on regional issues.

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