An innovative dream for agriculture

2017 Queensland Rural Women's Award winner Jacqui Wilson-Smith accepting her award from Minster Bill Byrne in Brisbane.
2017 Queensland Rural Women's Award winner Jacqui Wilson-Smith accepting her award from Minster Bill Byrne in Brisbane. Andrea Davy

A FORMER Noosa country kid, passionate agribusiness leader and now a Queensland Rural Women's Award winner.

Those are a just a few words you can use to describe Eerwah Vale mother-of-three Jacqui Wilson-Smith.

Although Jacqui only picked up her Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation prize last week, you can guarantee she will already be hard at work.

She has a big dream to achieve.

"My end goal is for Australian agribusiness to double its growth by 2030 with the help of innovation,” she said.

With a $10,000 bursary now under her belt, she hopes to create an online learning platform that enables rural agribusinesses to connect and learn.

"I have found through my work with the Food and Agribusiness Network that there is an appetite to share and collaborate,” she said.

"The problem for the farmers is time, and the tyranny of distance.

"My project idea is to create an online training platform, a virtual community where we can start conversations and take away the pain points of time and distance.”

Jacqui's passion for agriculture stems from her childhood growing up in the Noosa hinterland. She was typical country girl and used to ride a horse to school

For about 20 years Jacqui has worked in agribusiness.

Her journey started out in marketing with Buderim Ginger, and today she is McCormick's global innovation manager as well as the co-founder and chairwoman of the Food and Agribusiness Network.

After collecting her award from Mister Bill Byrne at the Old Government House in Brisbane, she spoke passionately about the need for more women to become involved in agriculture.

"One of the things I am passionate about is encouraging other women to step up and give it a go,” she said.

"I want women to choose to be a part of rural industries and to realise you don't have to be a third, fourth or fifth generation to be a part of this wonderful industry.

"I feel the pool needs to be broadened for rural industries, we can't just look to people who have come from the land.”

Jacqui will now compete for the national RIRDC Award that will be announced in Canberra this August.

Topics:  bill byrne eerwah vale food and agribusiness network

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