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Women Together Learning (WoTL) & Michael Richards announced as 2019 Award Winners

The 14thAg Excellence Forum & Awards was held recently at the Stamford Grand, Glenelg. Mooted as the ‘South Australian Grower Group’ event of the year, the celebration of Grower Group achievements was a resounding success with a record number of submissions in anticipation of winning the coveted awards.

The highly valued Grower Group Award, sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), went to Women Together Learning (WoTL) for putting forward an educational proposal to benefit their members, the local and broader agricultural communities. WoTL will put the $5,000 towards two initiatives to build linkages between women that participate in WoTL regional activities and the Stepping into Leadership Alumni. Firstly, members will be invited to take part in a ‘Video Tips and Tools’ workshop to enhance their presence on social media platforms. Secondly, a field trip is to be organised within the Barossa and Adelaide Hills regions to gain further insight in to how Alumni participants have put their learnings into practice within their own businesses.

Chair Sharon Honner and Executive Officer, Kim Blenkiron accepted the award from PIRSA Deputy Chief Executive, Tim Goodes on behalf of WoTL. Sharon acknowledged Kim as the driver behind the project as well as being a significant contributor to WoTL. “Kim has led the Group during its time as the South Australian branch of Partners in Grain right through the transition process to what is now known as WoTL”, said Sharon. Tim Goodes congratulated the group on finding their niche and playing such an important role in further developing and strengthening the Ag space for all women in agriculture.

The Ag Excellence Perpetual Award for outstanding service was awarded to Michael Richards, an absolute crowd favourite. Michael has made a substantial and long-lasting contribution to sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources within our State. Some of these achievements have included being instrumental in the formation of the Yorke Peninsula Alkaline Soils Group in the early 1990’s. This group went on to pioneer the development of the farming systems group model in South Australia. Michael also played a major role in the development of Ag Ex with the aim to support the burgeoning farming systems group network.

Ag Excellence Chair, Leet Wilksch commended Michael on a well-deserved accolade. “Michael exemplifies what it is to ‘go above and beyond’ in his endeavour to grow our industry support and networks. We simply wouldn’t have the structures in place today without the determination and ingenuity of regional advocates like Michael.”

Former South Australian AFL legend turned ‘foodie’ Daniel Motlop took the stage to share his journey in becoming Australia’s first indigenous-owned supplier of game meats and native foods. Guests were given a bush taste sensation of crumbed crocodile bites with desert lime aioli and other ‘wild’ foods.

The Forum provides a dynamic arena for Grower Groups and Industry to share experiences, develop new ideas and foster trends within the innovation, technology and extension space. Speaker highlights included the Australian Farm Institute Executive Director, Richard Heath, presenting on ‘Social License and Marketing ourselves to the Non-Rural Sector’. Marius Cuming, Wool Grower and Shareholder Engagement, Australian Wool Industry (AWI) demonstrated the many future opportunities and challenges facing today’s wool industry.

Presentations from the Forum are available to download 

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