NSW Southern Highlands dairy farmer Cressida Cains has been announced runner-up in the nationwide 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.
The Robertson-based artisan cheesemaker and co-owner of Pecora Dairy was rewarded on Wednesday night for her work in lobbying for small or family-run dairies and for launching the not-for-profit digital platform, Dairy Cocoon.
The first of its kind, Dairy Cocoon offers members a curated source of business tools, mentorship, information resources and an online community hub to help facilitate industry-wide networking and support.
Ms Cains said she believed the current model of selling commodity milk to processors was devastating small business.
She said that by producing branded products including cheese, yoghurt, gelato and milk under small, independent dairy brands, families would have a strong and profitable alternative.
She said that her vision was to give Dairy Cocoon members the tools to become "price setters," securing a legacy for their family operations.
The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award has given me an incredible opportunity to make lasting, long-term, sustainable change
"I strongly believe in the Australian dairy industry and I'm excited about its future," she said.
Ms Cains received a $5000 Westpac bursary to put towards the program.
Cara Peek receives 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award
Proud Yawuru/ Bunuba woman, Cara Peek, Broome, WA, was named the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award recipient at the gala event on Wednesday evening.
The Broome lawyer, social innovator and co-founder of Saltwater Country, was recognised for her dedication to fostering access and equal opportunity for remote First Nations communities.
Saltwater Country is the not-for-profit empowering social, emotional and economic development and advancement of Indigenous people in the north.
Inspired by the legacy of Aboriginal stockmen and women, it has developed a number of evidence-based programs allowing students to train within their own communities across the disciplines of horsemanship and rodeo sports, equine therapy, agribusiness, marketing and event management.
Ms Peek received a $10,000 Westpac bursary to progress Saltwater Country.
On Wednesday evening, more than 500 viewers from across the nation tuned in to see Agricultural Minister David Littleproud present the awards, in a ceremony livestreamed from Wagga Wagga.
2020 state and territory finalists included:
- Rural mental health advocate, Kelly Barnes (Dunkeld, VIC)
- Horticultural expert, Karen Brock (Winkleigh, TAS)
- Businesswoman and livestock marketer, Elisha Parker (Clermont, QLD)
- Rural psychologist, Stephanie Schmidt (Burra, SA)
- Marine biologist and sustainable aquaculture advocate, Amy Kirke (Darwin, NT)