Sandra Ireson, who started the Hay Inc. Rural Education Program, has been awarded the 2017 NSW-ACT Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro joined NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair to congratulate Mrs Ireson and award her with a bursary of $10,000.
Mr Blair said the program was developed to curb the increasing number of young people leaving the agriculture sector.
“Sandra recognised there was a need in her community and developed an educational pathway that provides hands-on training, mentoring, and networking for young people starting out in primary industries,” Mr Blair said.
“We know it is the next generation that will take what we do today and see it succeed in the years to come, so programs like this, particularly in our regional areas, are vital.
“The program has already delivered substantial benefits to Hay including raising the profile of the local agricultural industry, enhancing tourism, and a greater recognition and understanding of the importance of food and fibre production.
“I congratulate our finalists, Rebecca Barnes, Emma Doyle, and Hayley Purbrick on their wonderful achievements and exceptional leadership in the primary industries sector.
“I know they’re all passionate about regional NSW and I have no doubt we will see many great things from these women in the years to come.”
Mrs Ireson will now go on to compete for the National RIRDC Rural Women’s Award later in 2017 at Parliament House, Canberra.
The three finalists will receive a $1000 NSW DPI Leadership Bursary for skills and leadership development.
The RIRDC NSW-ACT Rural Women’s Award is co-ordinated by the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Rural Women’s Network with support from NSW Farmers, Office of Environment & Heritage, and the Country Women’s Association.