AgriFutures Rural Women's Award

The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award is Australia's leading award acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities.

The Award is open to all women across Australia involved in:

  • rural industries
  • rural and regional businesses
  • rural and regional communities.

Applicants must be over 18 years and no formal qualifications are required.

A $15,000 Westpac grant is awarded in each Australian state or territory, providing the financial resources support a project, business or program that will benefit rural industries, businesses and/or communities. Award finalists will also receive professional development opportunities and access to alumni networks. The project, idea or initiative must be live and up and running. The project may be commercially or non-commercially focused, but must align with AgriFutures' strategic priorities.

All state or territory winners will participate in a separate national selection panel interview. The national winner and runner-up will both receive additional grant funds from Westpac. These additional funds may be used to further progress your winning initiative or assist in meeting national commitments.

2024 SA Rural Women's Award winner

Nikki Atkinson

Nikki Atkinson from Wilmington in the Flinders Ranges has been named South Australia’s winner of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

Founder and designer of Horrocks Vale Collections, Nikki has been recognised for her innovative work creating sustainable wedding dresses and special occasion wear from Merino wool.

Nikki started Horrocks Vale Collection after she sold her bridal boutique in Adelaide and married her husband, a wool grazier in the Flinders Ranges and decided to combine her 25 years' experience as a wedding dress designer with her passion for advocating for fine Merino wool.

Nikki has been recognised for her work showcasing Merino wool in an innovative way, revolutionising the wedding industry and making it more sustainable using an environmentally friendly material, as most wedding dresses are typically made from polyester.

Knowing first-hand the work it takes to develop the extra-fine Merino fibre and flock, Nikki aims to highlight Australian wool graziers, pastoralists and families. She believes they deserve to be recognised for their efforts in creating a world-class, premium product.

As the South Australian winner, Nikki has won a $15,000 Westpac grant to support her business as well as professional development opportunities and access to alumni networks. She will also represent the state at the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement in Canberra later in the year.

Congratulations to finalists Suzi Evans from Mantung for her resilience building project Workbench for the Mind, and Susie Williams from Willunga for her online local news platform Fleurieu App.

Previous winners

Ali Paulett

Ali Paulett (2023)

Ali developed the Bush DeVine Australian Native sensory bush food garden, a unique garden and sensory walking path, that also supplies their restaurant at Paulett Wines with native ingredients.

Find out more

Robyn Verrall

Robyn Verrall (2022)

Robyn’s goal is to improve food insecurity and food affordability in rural, regional and First Nations communities in Australia through Kere to Country.

Find out more

Photo of Steph Schmidt

Stephanie Schmidt (2020)

Stephanie developed ActforAg, a program to bring psychological skills to regional communities in brief, yet effective ways.

More information

Information on all state and national winners since 2000 is available on the AgriFutures website.


Tara Donnelly, State Coordinator

0461 506 745
Page last reviewed: 26 Mar 2024


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