Stephanie Stanhope, from the Bega branch, Far South Coast Group, has been named the next president of the CWA of NSW at the annual state conference in Albury.
The Numbugga resident and former dairy farmer joined the CWA thirteen years ago, when the Bega branch was in danger of closing down if they could not find a treasurer.
Ms Stanhope, who was the treasurer of her local church at the time, stepped into the role and saved the day.
Since then, she's been branch president, held various positions at group level and was state vice president of for three years, finishing up that role in 2018.
Ms Stanhope said the CWA had given her a new-found sense of confidence.
"When I joined the CWA, my marriage had just broken down, my children were growing up and it actually gave me a connection to a wonderful group of women," Ms Stanhope said.
"The support that I've had from these women has given me the confidence to do a number of things I probably wouldn't of otherwise done."
Ms Stanhope said she also discovered new interests, such as cooking and knitting, her knitting earning her a first place ribbon at the conference this year.
"There's avenues where you can do what you want to do and you have the support of a massive group of other women, it's an amazing organisation," she said.
Ms Stanhope has had experience outside the CWA that will help her in her new role, in which she will oversee 400 branches and around 8000 members.
"My ex-husband and I ran a dairy and when I was in the industry I was on the catchment board and the dairy industry development board," she said.
"Being on these government boards has given me experience advocating for people."
But she said being the president of CWA of NSW is not something you take on yourself.
"You need the help from other members, I don't have all the knowledge but there are women out there who do," she said.
"It's a matter of getting them to come out of their shells as I have done."
Ms Stanhope said a focus for her during her presidency will be rural industries.
"I feel a lot has to be done in that area because if we loose that base, our food supply goes, major export markets go," she said.
"You can't stop foreign ownership but we have to work out how to make sure our food supplies are there and that we can support our own country."
For the first time in a number of years, two candidates were nominated for presidency. Ms Stanhope standing alongside Margaret Bruest from the Eungai-Stuarts Point branch, Mid-North Coast group.
Ms Stanhope will take over the role from Annette Turner of the White Cliffs branch who has served in the role for the last three years.
- The Land speaks to outgoing CWA president, Annette Turner on page 45. For photos from the CWA conference go to page 49.