Trio in running for top award

*Stephanie Trethewey (left), Kate Field (top right) and Sally Murfet (bottom right)*

THREE inspiring Tasmanian women have been named as state finalists in the 2022 Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award for their contributions, innovations and support to the agricultural industry.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading award empowering and celebrating the inclusive and courageous leadership of women and the essential role they play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.

Sally Murfet, from Sorell, is committed to effective and accessible workforce management in agriculture through her business, Inspire AG, which assists farmers in managing their workforce.

“I started Inspire AG about four years after completing a contract working in skills training and development within the industry, where it became apparent to me there was a big challenge in attracting and retaining staff,” Sally said.

“After I completed the contract, I thought I could be of service to go out in my own right, I knew there were a lot of consultants out there, but there was no one out there could help drive the performance of people.
“I left school at 16 and went into a dairy traineeship. I knew wanted to be involved in ag, but didn’t know where I fitted. It’s been the collection of experience along the way that’s culminated in where I am today, and I’ve found the space I want to work in for the rest of my career.”

Kate Field, from Copping, is implementing innovative by-product uses in her sustainable farm practices, with aims to activate a future industry in Tasmania.

Kate’s Leap Farm is a carbon positive endeavour producing goat cheese and meat and, in alignment with her sustainable ethos, she has turned her waste whey into a skincare line: Leapful.

“We’ve been making cheese on farm for five years where one of the waste products is whey, there’s is always a lot more whey than cheese.”

“Looking at the whey, it felt wasteful just feeding it to pigs or irrigating our pasture, it’s so full of protein and vitamins,” she said.

Over the years, Kate and her partner Iain had noticed how quickly their hands healed and softened while working with cheese in the spring after the winter months where they typically take a break from milking and focus on the ‘farm jobs’.

“Our skin would recover quickly when making cheese, so I spent 14 months developing a formula for harnessing that and with a lot of trial and error, feedback from family, friends and colleagues, we launched in December,” Kate said.

A unique factor in Kate’s product is the use of Tasmanian native essential oils, supplied through collaborations with Angus Stewart.

“We can see a future where farmers are growing Tasmanian native shelter belts that can be harvested for essential oils, while diversifying income, increasing carbon capture and water retention with the potential to develop more enterprises, we’re building something lovely.”

Stephanie Trethewey, from Dunorlan, is working to create greater connectivity and support between rural mothers through her online group program, Motherland Village.

“When I had my first child, we lived in Melbourne and had the luxury to be part of a mothers’ group. When I moved to rural Tasmania and I had our second child, I didn’t have that opportunity. I talked to other mums, and they all faced the same problem,” Stephanie said.
“Sixty-one percent of regional mothers don’t have access to a mothers’ group because of services geo-location.”

“I’ve had more than 70 rural mums come through the program, which is proving to reduce the feelings of isolation that come with raising kids on the land, and as a subsequent result, raising their wellbeing.”

Steph’s plan is to open her program nationally and gain greater resources to best manage and support a larger group of rural mothers.

The state winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Parliament House later this year and will then compete for the national award.