NFF opens ag leadership program for women on IWD

Tassie berry grower Steph Terry was one of last years alumni of the Diversity in Ag Leadership program. Photo contributed.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has launched applications for its flagship Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program for aspiring female leaders in the agriculture industry.

Open to 12 participants nationwide, the program provides a unique opportunity for women to clarify their goals and chart their own pathways toward achieving them

NFF president David Jochinke emphasised the program’s success in elevating women in their careers.

“Mentoring is powerful tool in leadership development and it’s what sets our program apart,” Mr Jochinke said.

“By connecting emerging leaders with industry trailblazers, we’re fostering the exchange of knowledge, experiences and expanding networks.”

With a proud alumni base of 64 graduates, the program has facilitated transformative change within the industry with many graduates stepping into executive level roles, accepting board positions, and being changemakers within their communities.

GrainGrowers CEO Shona Gawel said programs like this were a valuable way of supporting women and delivering even stronger representation in the rural sector.

“Investing in agricultural leadership, by opening a pathway to aspiring leaders not only helps cultivate equality and diversity, but also draws together the widest possible range of opinions and ideas. It significantly benefits the wider agricultural sector.”

2023 alumnus, berry farmer Steph Terry, said the program came at a valuable time in her career.

“The program supported me in my transition from my independent legal career to becoming a Director and in-house lawyer within our family farming business,” said Ms Terry.

“It also came at a time when I was progressing towards becoming president of Primary Employers Tasmania, an NFF member organisation.

“The opportunities the program presented to me including making strong connections with the cohort of like-minded women, participating in workshops, networking and mentoring tied together my change in career direction and my new role as President of an agricultural organisation.”

Mr Jochinke said the program was key to supporting the NFF’s goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks and to make agriculture an inclusive industry for all by 2030.

“With the program in its seventh year, we’re seeing generational change across industry and partners,” said the NFF President.

“We know that more young women, and culturally diverse people are entering the industry. We also know that agricultural female graduates are earning more than their male counterparts.

“It’s now our job to keep this momentum going as women progress in their careers into leadership positions.”

The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program’s success is made possible through the support of 31 dedicated partners, including multinational corporations, advocacy bodies, and government entities.

For more information about the program, including details on alumni and application procedures, visit