FarmPay founder Namoi Stuart, a grain farmer and chartered accountant.
FarmPay founder Namoi Stuart, a grain farmer and chartered accountant. Contributed

This one is for the girls

AS International Women's Day celebrations ramp up across Australia, the Rural Weekly has chosen to shine a light on the ladies of the land.

Here is a look back at our coverage of some of the wonderful women kicking goals in agriculture.

We have talked to jillaroos paving their own way in the outback, growers carving out their own niche markets and women who have stepped up into prominent leadership roles of major farming lobby groups.

In no particular order, here are our rural champions.  

MARGO ANDRAE

 

Cattle Council President Howard Smith, CEO Margo Andrae and Cattle Council Vice President Tony Hegarty.
Cattle Council President Howard Smith, CEO Margo Andrae and Cattle Council Vice President Tony Hegarty. Contributed

SHE is the new Cattle Council of Australia chief executive officer, but if you ask Margo Andrae what drives her the most, her answer isn't beef.

It's people and producers.

"I have come from a rural background and my passion has always been rural and regional people," she said.

Ms Andrae made history this week when she was appointed the first female chief executive officer of the Cattle Council.

SARAH ROBINSON

 

Sarah Robinson has been working in the cattle industry for more than four years.
Sarah Robinson has been working in the cattle industry for more than four years. Contributed

SARAH Robinson admits she wasn't prepared as she headed off for her first year on a cattle station.

She wasn't expecting how much pressure she would feel to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience within a short period of time - all the while working long hours with few days off.

It was a tough first season.

She considered giving up, but decided to persevere.

This year Sarah is heading into her fifth year as a station hand and is driven by the goal of one day becoming a head stockman.

ZOE HAYES

 

Zoe Hayes has overcome family tragedy and depression to live her dream life on an outback cattle property.
Zoe Hayes has overcome family tragedy and depression to live her dream life on an outback cattle property. Zoe Hayes_Eaton

SHE has suffered incredible heartbreak and tragedy, but this outback woman is refusing to let her life become a "sob story".

Zoe Hayes was 17 when her mum died by suicide.

It's now five years on but she can still remember that time. She was consumed with sadness, had thoughts of suicide herself and was overwhelmed with a powerful sense of feeling totally trapped.

All her friends were moving on, but her world had stopped. She felt stuck.

Today, Zoe's life is in stark contrast to those days.

She is 23 and living the life she always dreamed of - being a member of a stock camp on a cattle property.

Zoe said outback Australia healed her.

DENISE HAWE

 

Denise Hawe and one of her dogs
Denise Hawe and one of her dogs

DENISE Hawe was diagnosed with vascular dementia, a form of degenerative brain disorder, eight years ago.

"I've got lesions on my brain...it can't be fixed," she said.

"Forming sentences was tough, even now I'll talk great for a couple of days but then I'll have a day where words don't come, and I can't speak the words I want to speak.

"My legs are failing through all nerve problems from the brain, health-wise I'm deteriorating per year."

Denise said the drought and the diagnosis took a toll on her emotionally, as she used to cry while she walked her dogs each morning.

AUNT ANNE

 

Anne Cox at Andado Station. Anne still loves visiting her family's properties and will turn 100 this year.
Anne Cox at Andado Station. Anne still loves visiting her family's properties and will turn 100 this year. Peter Fraser

THREE shots ringing out over Katherine signalled the threat of Japanese bombers.

It's a sound Anne Cox can still remember well. She was running the local supermarket with her husband, Cyril, and knew gunfire issued from the local policeman meant they had to head for cover.

"There were nine of them (bombers), when they were at that height they looked like silver footballs in the sky," she said.

"They circled the town three times."

That was on March 22, 1942, in the thick of the Second World War - a significant date that lies within the living memory of an extraordinary Territorian.

Last week, Anne turned 100.

GEMMA HARTWIG

 

TAFE student, Gemma Hartwig, 20, is a diesel fitter and will be competing in a national competition later this month. November 2017
TAFE student, Gemma Hartwig, 20, is a diesel fitter and will be competing in a national competition later this month. November 2017 Bev Lacey

SHE is a qualified diesel fitter, 2017 Young Apprentice of the Year, founder of She Can, and is currently working on an angus stud in Canada.

It seems Gemma Hartwig can do whatever she puts her mind to.

The Rural Weekly spoke to Gemma - who was enduring a frosty -24 degree temperature - to find out how the young woman learned to make her mark in a male-dominated industry.

MEGAN MCLOUGHLIN

 

Megan McLoughlin is one of the organisers of the Herd of Hope.
Megan McLoughlin is one of the organisers of the Herd of Hope. Nigel Lough

SUNBAKING backpackers, Bondi Rescue lifeguards and 40 head of herefords.

That will be the sight to be seen on March 17 when the Herd of Hope reaches the shore of Sydney's world- famous Bondi Beach at sunrise.

Herd of Hope organiser Megan McLoughlin is in the midst of co-ordinating the mammoth feat, which will bring donated cattle from the Northern Territory's Undoolya Station to NSW's capital city.

BELINDA WILLIAMS

 

Belinda Williams, Bowen, QLD pumpkin grower and Coles supplier for Halloween.
Belinda Williams, Bowen, QLD pumpkin grower and Coles supplier for Halloween. Contributed

STACKELROTH Farm has carved out their own niche market, producing pumpkins that are a perfect fit for Halloween, but that doesn't mean the hard work stops.

In fact, demand for the size-specific, easy to carve jack-o-lantern pumpkins has tripled within the last six years.

Belinda Williams, who has been on the farm full time since her early 20s has witnessed the market evolve, starting about 16 years ago when she, and her mother Pam Stackelroth, signed up with a seed company to trial the variety in Bowen.

"Back then we didn't expect it to be this big," she said.

NAOMI STUART

 

FarmPay founder Namoi Stuart, a grain farmer and chartered accountant.
FarmPay founder Namoi Stuart, a grain farmer and chartered accountant. Contributed

THIRTY days after supplying it, Naomi Stuart and her husband Luke Gaynor were still waiting to be paid almost $300,000 for their grain.

The couple's grain trader had stopped taking their calls and a huge cloud of uncertainty settled in above them.

"This was a significant payment for a small business - nearly $300,000," Namoi said.

"The impact on the cash flow of our business and the ability for us to make our loan repayments and to pay our workers became a serious problem." 

Eventually, the parents-of-three, were paid.

However, Naomi knew she wasn't alone - the issue is widespread and not uncommon.

With much brainstorming, research and investigation she created a solution: FarmPay, an online platform to help grassroots farmers.



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