2019 Conference Program



Building Resilience in Australian Women & Business in Agriculture.

The AWiA Board and Conference Committee look forward to welcoming all our conference delegates, presenters, sponsors and supporters to the 2019 Australian Women in Agriculture Conference from the 1st to 3rd November 2019.

Our theme for this year is “Review. Renew. Regenerate.”  There will be a strong focus on building skills, knowledge and resilience in women and business in Australian Agriculture.

We will also be launching our Australian Women in Agriculture youth committee and are hoping that with industry support we can ensure at least 20 women are provided with the opportunity to attend the conference through a scholarship.

View  the full program here

Friday 1st November

9 am – 12 noon AWiA Youth Session: Exploring your Leadership Style!

We are super excited  to hold our first dedicated Australian Women in Agriculture  Youth session at our  2019 AWiA Conference! Join our Youth Coordinator Amy Munro, Leadership Consultant Cynthia Mahoney and Youth Committee Member and AWiA Youth Committee Social Media Guru Leesa Chen for a fun session focused on leadership and governance.  The session will involve leadership training and group work with Cynthia, a Youth consultation session with Amy and a social media session with Leesa.

2pm 2019 AWiA AGM – Kingsford Room, Ramada Hotel, Ballina

A General Meeting will be held post AGM, time permitting

Opening Cocktail Event

Proudly Supported by Moore Stephens

6:00pm Subtropical Theme beside the River in the beautiful Fenwick Room

Guest Speakers: Kerry Bebendorf, Director, Moore Stephens and Hannah Wandel, 2019 ACT Young Australian of the Year and the Founder and CEO of national non-profit Country to Canberra.

Leanne Evans from our Charity Partner, Drought Angels will share the story about the important work they are doing in our remote, rural and regional communities

Read more about Hannah, Kerry and Leanne


Saturday 2nd November

Welcome & Opening Session

8:00am Conference Welcome

Welcome to Country – Sandra Bolt, Bundjalung elder

Session 1 – Building Resilient Women in Agriculture

8:30am The Crawford Fund “Next Gen” Panel including Launch of 2020 Student Awards

Join Cathy Reade, Director of Outreach, the Crawford Fund, to hear from three young researchers who have been involved in agriculture in developing countries. The Fund is a registered charity which involves Australians in training developing country scientists and farmers, and has a program to encourage the ‘NextGen’, young Australians, in their studies, careers and volunteering in agriculture for development. Cathy will explain opportunities for involvement and the panellists will talk about their work for food and nutrition security, how it connects back to Australian agriculture, the impact it had and how they developed personally and professionally from their involvement. The panel includes:

  • Jessica Fearnley, Department of Primary Industries
  • Razlin Azman, Southern Cross Uni
  • Amy Munro, UNE and AWIA Youth Coordinator

Read more about Jessica, Razlin, Amy and Cathy


9:15am  AgriFutures Panel

“Women leading the way in rural industries” utilising some key leaders in different industries.

Join Georgina Townsend – Manager, Research, AgriFutures Australia to hear from amazing women that have participated in the amazing programs and projects delivered by AgriFutures Australia. The panel includes:

·         Natasha Roebig – Co-Founder and Principal Apiarist, Bee All Natural and 2019 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award QLD Winner

·         Rebecca Barnes – Director, Playing with Fire Native Foods and 2017 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award NSW/ACT Finalist

·         Kelly McTavish – Broiler Service, Ingham Enterprises

Read more about Georgina, Natasha, Rebecca and Kelly


10:00am  Esther by Jessica North

 Jessica North is the author of Esther, the biography of the first woman to manage an agricultural estate in Australia.  The extraordinary true story of the First Fleet girl who became First Lady of the colony and first woman to manage an agricultural estate in Australia.

Read more about Jessica here


10:20am  Introducing the AWiA Youth Committee

Our Youth Coordinator, Amy Munro will introduce our newly selected youth committee members and talk about their exciting plans.

10:30am  Morning tea

Session 2 – Review

11:00am Weathering the new storms – risks & culture in Agribusiness

Katie McRobert, General Manager, Australian Farm Institute

Risk is ever-present in Australian agriculture, but the nature of these risks is constantly changing and thus the need to understand the tools and ensure the marketplace matches needs is greater than ever. In particular, new and emerging institutional risk factors are becoming a major concern, and climate change is exacerbating the complexity of risk management – both directly and indirectly – throughout agricultural supply chains. Two reports produced by the AFI in 2019 address these issues – Australian agriculture: an increasingly risky business and Change in the air: defining the need for an Australian agricultural climate change strategy. AFI General Manager Katie McRobert will present an overview of the findings of these timely reports.

Read more about Katie

Malcolm Renney, General Manager, Credit, Rural Bank

Malcolm will expand on Katie’s presentation and share insights about how Rural Bank looks at risk and climate change and how the Bank supported this important work. Malcolm will also discuss how the bank uses the information to make business decisions and support it’s customers.

Read more about Malcolm


11:45 am Current & Emerging Risks in Agriculture

Each of the panel members will present on the current and emerging risks within their industry sector and how they are working to address these. This will be followed by a panel session led by Hollie Baillieu, Agricultural Professional.



  • Georgie Somerset – President, AgForce
  • Margo Andrae – CEO Pork Australia & Former CEO Cattle Council.
  • Amelia Shaw, Policy Manager Rural Affairs, Grain Growers Australia
  • Dr Sarah Bolton BVSc (Hons) – Project Officer: Animal Health, Welfare & Fertility, Dairy Australia.

Read more about HollieGeorgie, Margo, Amelia and Sarah

1:00pm Lunch Proudly Supported by GrainGrowers

Session 3 – Renew

2:00pm Joy McClymont – Farmer, Entrepreneur and the “Aussie Fitness Chick”

Self-care is the key to being at your best! Giving, serving, loving and providing is what fills our lives with purpose and joy, but it can also deplete it if you are not careful to take the time to refill.   Learning, practising and prioritising beneficial self-care that truly recharges your energy, clarity and gives you an opportunity to be you best self.  So, what is self-care and how do we include it in our daily routine when we are already so busy? Believe me you can and need to.  There is a way, you just must know how and believe in why.

Read more about Joy here

2:45pm   Dr Ellen Downes – Doctor, Farmer and AgEdge Advocate

Ellen was named a 2019 NSW/ACT Rural Women’s Award Finalist, highlighting AgEdge, as unique farmer led platform that helps farming families successfully navigate the highs and lows of agriculture. Ellen will present on the AgEdge advantage and how it has helped her, her family and their farming business.

Read more about Dr Ellen here


3:10pm   Julia Telford – Engage and Create Consulting

Anxiety is experienced by many. Julia will share her anxiety experience, reflecting on what she learnt, changes she made. What you need to be aware of and what anxiety looks like!

Read more about Julia here



3:30 pm   Afternoon tea

Session Four – Regenerate

4:00 pm   Regenerative Panel, led by Lorraine Gordon

Each panellist will present their perspective on regenerative agriculture, what it means to them and their organisations. Lorraine Gordon, will then lead a discussion and answer questions from the floor on regenerative agriculture and its importance to our current and future farming practices.

  • Verity Morgan Schmidt: CEO Farmers for Climate Action
  • Mary Retallack: Viticulturalist, Consultant & Director of Wine Australia
  • Tammi Jonas: Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths, President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

Read more about Lorraine , Verity, Mary, and Tammi

5:15 pm Closing Comments

2019 AWiA Gala Dinner

6:30pm   2019 AWiA Gala Dinner

Guest Speaker: Lorraine Gordon

Formal/After Five Wear – The Point Restaurant & Bar.

The Point Restaurant and Bar lends itself to a charming location for our formal Conference Dinner. Surrounded by 2000 square metres of lawn by the riverside with a versatile inside and outside dining space, the 2019 AWiA Conference Dinner will impress with a menu comprised of fresh local ingredients.

With the majestic Richmond River as a backdrop, it will be a night to remember whilst we enjoy amazing food, inspiring guest speakers and a view to never forget.

Guest speaker is Lorraine Gordon, 2018 Rural Community Leader of the Year.

Lorraine is the   Director of Strategic Projects at Southern Cross University and the multi-award winning Farming Together Now Program and founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance.

Lorraine will share her journey as a leader in agriculture and how she acts as a conduit between industry and research, delivering sustainable and regenerative agriculture solutions nationally.

Sunday 3rd November 2019

8:00am Welcome

8:15am Conference Workshops

Ellen Downes, AgEdge – For the past 13 years she has been actively involved in Ag EDGE, an independent and not for profit farm business management group. A strength of AgEDGE is how it acknowledges the importance of women within farming by offering them a seat at the farm business table. Ellen’s vision is to empower women to become more actively involved in farm businesses to help them successfully navigate the agricultural landscape through involvement in AgEdge. This workshop will allow participants to see how AgEdge works with family farms and businesses.

Read more about Ellen here

Julia Telford, Engage & Create Consulting – The True You – setting ourselves up for success. The True You was a project Julia developed while getting cancer treatment. This workshop will look at how participants can set themselves up for success, with family, work, a new project, etc! This will be an interactive session looking at what you want to achieve in the next year.

Read more about Julia here

Josie Zilm, Rural Bank Regional Manager Agribusiness for Southern Victoria – The finance industry is an integral part to the operation and growth the agricultural sector. This workshop aims to give attendees an insight into what sort of information banks typically request, an understanding of what banks do with the information and will also give attendees an opportunity to swap hats to become a banker. Whether it is an annual review, discussing a succession plan, teaching others about finance, looking to grow, consolidate or step back, attendees will be given an insight to the best type of information to provide their financier.

Read more about Josie here

Joy McClymont , Off the Track Training & Joy’s Fitness Hub – You Do You!
An interactive workshop focusing on finding out the routines, opportunities and possibilities that create a healthy and fit life for you. Take a close look at your own personal journey and lifestyle to integrate daily habits that benefit your physical and mental health.
Learn and understand your mindset, behavioural patterns and beliefs that impact on what you can achieve.

Read more about Joy here


Cynthia Mahoney – Come on a well-being vacation – Women in agriculture have so many roles in life and juggle a lot of balls. This leaves many of us feeling busy, stressed, overwhelmed and disconnected from ourselves. We don’t take the time to check in with ourselves and focus on what’s really important to us (often because we’re too busy looking after everyone else). It’s time for that to stop! This AWiA conference is the perfect time for you to take a vacation and discover how you can bring more of that holiday feeling into your every-day life. Join your in-flight facilitator Cynthia as she takes you, and a group of like-minded women, on a journey where you’ll have some fun, take charge, give yourself permission to stop the busy-ness, and develop strategies on how to prioritise self-care so you can leave feeling energised, focussed, flourishing and fabulous.

Read more about Cynthia here

Nicole Richter, Moore Stephens.

Review, Renew, Regenerate!

Join Nicole from Moore Stephens for a catch up and a coffee by the River. Interactive conversation and workshop about looking at where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to make it happen!..Once you review and renew, you regenerate your business and your life!

Read about Nicole here

10.30am Conference Tours

Depart from Ramada Hotel Ballina. Most tours will return between 3 and 4 pm.

Conference Delegates will select from one of the following tours:

  1. The Farm Tour, Lunch & Discussion with Founder Tom Lane
  2. Tropical Fruit World Tour
  3. Cape Byron Distillery Tour, Rainforest & Tasting

(Please note lunch is not included in the tour price, you will need to bring something or purchase it on the day)

Click here for details of our exciting tours.