Run by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria the Awards “recognise people under 40 years of age who have demonstrated leadership qualities and make a contribution in their profession, or to the wider industry and community.”
Jo currently works as a Research Scientist in Dairy Genetics for Agriculture Victoria with the ImProving Herds Project and donates much of her time to ensure the next generation of scientists are aware of the opportunities in agriculture – regularly attending school-based events to share her own experiences. Jo is also Chair of the recently formed Youth Voices Leadership Team, an initiative of Art4Agriculture.
“The agricultural sector has warmly welcomed a city convert and supported my growth and development,” Jo said. “I’m motivated by a desire to give back by doing research that has real benefits for our livestock industries and sharing agriculture’s many opportunities and career paths with the next generation. To have my contributions to agriculture recognised through the RASV Emerging Leaders in Victorian Agriculture Award is overwhelming and humbling.”
The award comes with $10,000 prize-money, which Jo will use to extend a fellowship in Ireland, commencing in November, where she will work with leading animal geneticists and extension specialists at Teagasc: The Agriculture and Food Authority. “Receiving a RASV Emerging Leaders Award will enable me to turn this fellowship into a truly life changing experience,” Jo said. “It will enable me to visit other major research groups in Europe, and hopefully to attend one of the big European animal science/genetics conferences. These activities would offer me an opportunity to hear the latest research in animal science in Europe and would provide a forum for idea sharing and networking within the wider European agricultural community. New knowledge and networks formed in Europe would be brought back to Australia, offering an international perspective to my future work and providing a foundation for future collaborative research opportunities.”
Lynne Strong, Art4Agriculture National Program Director, has known and mentored Jo for many years and believes she is a most-worthy recipient of the ELVA. “Jo has a strong ‘we-can-do-this attitude’ and a unique capacity to frame things in a positive and encouraging way, giving others the courage to find their own voice and take ownership of the solutions,” Lynne said. “Jo’s advocacy and promotion of agriculture is helping to build community trust and understanding about agriculture, is attracting new people to the sector and helping retain agriculture’s best and brightest minds.”
Jo was presented with the RASV Emerging Leaders Award at the prestigious Agriculture: The Heart of Victoria gala dinner on Thursday June 28 in Melbourne. The dinner, held by RASV and the Victorian Farmers Federation, highlighted the contribution of agriculture to Victoria.
Watch Jo’s interview at the awards here
This award continues Jo’s association with the Australian show movement. In 2013 she was a Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever. It also follows her recent announcement as the winner of the leadership category at the Victorian Young Achiever Awards.