Bellimbopinni local takes out rural women’s award

Josie Clarke from Bellimbopinni has won the 2022 AgriFutures NSW ACT Rural Women’s Award for her outstanding work and dedication to improving inclusivity for people living with disabilities in agriculture.

Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders and Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor joined in congratulating Ms Clarke, who was awarded with a $15,000 Westpac grant during a special awards event at NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

“This is an outstanding achievement and provides Josie with well-deserved recognition for giving a voice to those with disability working, or wanting to gain employment, in the agriculture industry,” Mr Saunders said.

“Ms Clarke and the other finalists for the NSW ACT Rural Women’s Award have, and will continue to, make a significant impact on the agriculture sector and our regional communities, and I thank them for their contribution.”

Mrs Taylor said women like Ms Clarke are playing a critical role in the growth and prosperity of our regional communities after a challenging few years.

“It was fantastic to host so many inspiring country women at Parliament House this week, and I am thrilled Josie was able to take away the prize for her trailblazing work in the disability sector,” Mrs Taylor said.

“I have no doubt Josie and the other fabulous finalists will continue to grow their projects and make a significant contribution in the regions for years to come.”

Ms Clarke said she founded online platform Ability Agriculture in 2021 as part of her own family’s story, after her father became a paraplegic and enterprise changes were made to help him retrain.

“My goal for Ability Agriculture is to make a difference for individuals and families affected by disability across Australian agriculture, and to see disability included positively as part of our industry and enterprise workforce planning,” Ms Clarke said.

“I’m excited to showcase the opportunities that are available to people with disability on farms across NSW and amplify the voices of those who have been underrepresented in the industry.”

Ms Clarke will use her grant to register her not-for-profit organisation, develop support resources, including a podcast series, and scope the development of a leadership program for those living with disability.

Minister Saunders and Minister Taylor also congratulated finalists:

  • Mea Campbell of Connect AU, Dubbo
  • Erin Williams of Livestock Guardian Dogs of Australia, Aberdeen
  • Anna Barwick of PharmOnline, Walcha
  • Miss Clarke will now go on to compete for the National AgriFutures Rural Women’s

Award later this year at Parliament House, Canberra.

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