Young leader defying traditional roles in ag

KATHRYN Robertson is a vibrant young rural leader, passionate about her local community and advocating for the Australian agricultural and veterinary sectors.
Young leader defying traditional roles in ag Young leader defying traditional roles in ag Young leader defying traditional roles in ag Young leader defying traditional roles in ag Young leader defying traditional roles in ag

Community Leader of the Year, Kathryn Robertson, with ABC director Regional & Local, Judith Whelan.

Staff writer

Kathryn's broad leadership and valuable contribution has earned her the title of Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2020-21 Rural Community Leader of the Year.

Kathryn's advocacy has been felt across the farming sector. In addition to running her family's mixed farming enterprise near Hamilton, Victoria, with her father, Kathryn runs her own livestock vet business and is currently serving as the president of the Sheepvention Rural Expo.

Sheepvention is the largest farming event in Victoria's Grampians region, attracting more than 25,000 visitors each year. Held in Hamilton during August, the event was traditionally run over two days, but together with other young committee members, Kathryn advocated for the inclusion of a third day, making the event accessible to a wider demographic.

This change proved to be immensely successful in its first year (2019) and shows the dynamic way Kathryn challenges preconceived ideas and attitudes to instigate positive change.

"I am really proud to be the President of Sheepvention and to be part of such a successful event. Sheepvention has been running for more than 40 years due to the contribution of many dedicated and passionate volunteers," Kathryn said.

"Sometimes change is hard for people to accept, but I knew that this particular idea would be really well received by our community and I was pleased to see our numbers increase because of it during 2019.

"Unfortunately, we had to cancel the 2020 event because of COVID-19, and it had a real impact on our local community and also our sheep industry because the whole idea of the event is to facilitate the sharing of ideas and knowledge to better our industry."

Kathryn's enthusiasm for serving her local community extends to her voluntary role as Captain of the Strathkellar Fire Brigade. The role sees Kathryn coordinating team training, meetings, roadside burning and reporting to higher authorities—all tasks she takes in her stride.

Ben White, general manager of research, Kondinin Group, said Kathryn was an outstanding example of a community leader and through her numerous activities, is revolutionising the role of women in the agricultural sector.

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