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Tropical research dream comes true

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Cally DupeCountryman
Kalyn Fletcher’s plan to  study tropical agriculture earned her the runner-up Rural Woman of the Year prize.
Camera IconKalyn Fletcher’s plan to study tropical agriculture earned her the runner-up Rural Woman of the Year prize. Credit: Cally Dupe

Kalyn Fletcher has been named runner-up in this year’s Rural Woman of the Year competition, for her plan to visit the tropical agriculture hub of Brazil and report back to her Kununurra farming colleagues.

Ms Fletcher, who runs RB Dessert Seed Company and The Hoochery Distillery, said it was initially “just a dream” to visit the Cerrado region to learn more about tropical agriculture when she applied for the award late last year.

However, in March Ms Fletcher’s dream received a boost when she was named this year’s WA Rural Women’s Award winner at a ceremony in Perth, and received a $10,000 prize.

Last week, the champion for tropical agriculture was named the national runner-up at a gala ceremony in Canberra.

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Ms Fletcher will use her $10,000 bursary to visit Brazil’s tropical agriculture hub and will hold “insight days” with local producers when she returns to the Kimberley.

While in Brazil, Ms Fletcher will focus on four areas: cropping systems, cropping options, capital infrastructure, and adding value.

She said the Cerrado region was a key player in the world’s tropical agriculture sector and bore many similarities to the Ord Valley region.

“One of my goals of this award was to open up channels of knowledge sharing; I have been impressed with how much has already started,” she said.

The farmer said she applied for the award with the hope of “turning eyes to the north”.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce announced the winners in front of 300 agriculture industry leaders, parliamentarians and award alumni at Parliament House last Thursday.

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s annual awards celebrate the large contribution Australian women make to farming.

A plan to help farmers harness social media to tell their stories of living on the land led to deer farmer Sophie Hansen, from Orange, New South Wales, being crowned 2016 Rural Woman of the Year.

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