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Giving back to agriculture

Lucinda Hawkins, third from left, with other members of the Agrifutures Ignite Advisory Panel. Photo: Agrifutures. Lucinda Hawkins, third from left, with other members of the Agrifutures Ignite Advisory Panel. Photo: Agrifutures.

A LOCAL woman with a knowledge of the business world and a background in agriculture has been selected for two important opportunities.

Lucinda Hawkins, who is the Head of Agribusiness for the Bank of Queensland in Dubbo, was chosen for the Agrifutures Ignite Advisory Panel and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Diversity in Agriculture leadership program.

Humbled by the recognition, Lucinda said agriculture has always been part of her life.

“I’ve been involved in agriculture in some shape or form all my life. I grew up on a family farm, a beef property at Walcha in northern NSW. I studied Agricultural Economics at Sydney University and went into agri-finance as a career.

“It is something that has taken me all across NSW, Queensland, and Scotland in the UK.

“Being part of Ignite and the NFF program is an opportunity to give back to that industry – agriculture has provided wonderful opportunities to me, now that I have developed some skills, I can give back.”

Lucinda described Australian agriculture as an amazing industry that has a big future.

“We have the most efficient food and fibre production in the world with clean, green products.

“We need to take advantage of opportunities and to be proactive in identifying them.”

Attending her first panel advisory meeting on May 17, Lucinda was looking forward to collaborating with her fellow panellists. The first meeting of the NFF was held last week in Canberra.

“The panel is all about connecting with other individuals to discuss and tackle some of the challenges,” she explained.

By using different technologies and innovations, Lucinda said the national industry can make its mark globally.

“Australian agriculture needs to get better at telling its story. Too often the narrative has been created.”

Citing stories on live sheep exporting, issues with water efficiency and the drought circumstances, Lucinda pointed out that its often negativity in the industry that makes the headlines.

“We need to get better about telling the public what we do so well,” she said.

“Farmers are the best custodians of the land who care about the environment and animal welfare. That’s the main thing – that we continue the narrative on agricultural production.”

Lucinda hopes the agricultural industry continues to grow, offering prospects on a global level.

“When I was deciding on a career, I was asked why I wanted to do it. But it’s an industry with a huge employment opportunity. And it’s the fastest growing contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Lucinda has even taken her passion for agriculture into other countries.

“I’ve been to China on a beef tour and they love Australian products. If we can get that right, we only need to satisfy a small amount.

“We have a responsibility to feed the world. It is our responsibility to make a commitment on a global scale.

“We also need to keep focus on domestic products like lamb, beef, chicken, wool and cotton.”

Lucinda is proud to be among other women making their mark in the industry she loves.

“We have got some wonderful leaders in agriculture, Fiona Simson is among them. We all bring something different to the table.

Offering advice to others, she said, “I’d encourage other women not to step back.

“I’ve never felt disadvantaged because I’m a female. I think I’ve been given more opportunities as a woman.”

As far as her selection, Lucinda’s deep understanding of agricultural issues, as well as her involvement in rural communities was what stood out to the panel.