The winner of a prestigious rural women's award knows better than most that it is a tough time for WA farmers.
But rather than dwell on the problems, Narrogin's Danielle England is determined to find solutions that will help secure the future of farming families and communities.
Ms England, named last night as the winner of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women's Award, juggles her roles as an agricultural consultant, farmer, mother and wife.
"I'm flat out but that's no different to anyone else out there," she said. "The WA broadacre industry is under a lot of pressure at the moment.
"We have lost up to 20 per cent equity across the board which has put some farm businesses outside bank's traditional lending criteria. Input costs are higher and every new season brings new risks."
Ms England, who graduated from Muresk with first-class honours in agribusiness and marketing in 1997, hopes to reduce those risks and add strength to balance sheets.
She will use her $10,000 award to study agricultural success stories on New Zealand's North Island, where farmers have maintained international competitiveness through innovation.
She said the dairy industry in particular had coped remarkably well with change over the past 15 years and New Zealand was regarded as a world leader in farm management. The country produces less than 5 per cent of the global milk supply but is the world's biggest exporter of dairy products.
Department of Agriculture and Food director general Rob Delane said the RIRDC awards helped recognise the outstanding contribution from women across rural and regional WA towards their communities and industries.Mr Delane congratulated Ms England and award runner-up Leilani Leyland, who has been in the beekeeping industry for 28 years and promotes the importance of bees, honey and the industry.
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