AgForce General President Georgie Somerset has been named a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her long-term advocacy for rural and regional Australians.  As AgForce’s ‘trailblazing’ first female General President, Somerset has been a strong advocate for equality for people in the bush.

“A South Burnett cattle producer, Georgie has been a strong and vocal advocate for the agriculture industry for many years, first as a member of the United Graziers’ Association, and for the past 20 years with AgForce,” AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said. “We are fortunate to benefit from her passion, her dedication and her vision as General President, as we advocate on behalf of not just primary producers but the rural and regional communities of which they are an integral part. “Georgie’s background in regional development has helped her be a driving force behind AgForce’s Stand Up for Regional Queensland program, a movement that aims to ensure people who live outside South East Queensland have access to the same quality services, infrastructure and opportunity. This supports Board roles she holds with respected organisations including Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Qld Section) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

In particular, Georgie’s support for women in agriculture has done so much to improve the recognition of their contribution and the opportunities available to them, leading by example as she smashes those glass ceilings herself. She has contributed much as founding Vice-President and later President of the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, Vice-President of the National Foundation for Australian Women and an Associate Member of the National Council of Women.” Somerset said it was humbling to receive the accolade, and the honour was in being able to represent the men and women of regional Australia.

“There are no more resilient, resourceful and positive people living anywhere in the world than here in the bush,” she said. “We are used to battling on with a steadfast resilience against whatever is thrown at us, raising strong families, who remain positive when seasons are dire, knowing they will continue this incredible positivity. It is a privilege to be involved in helping provide a voice for these people and their businesses, as sometimes, I think this resilient attitude is taken advantage of by governments and businesses to provide a second rate service. I am optimistic agriculture’s contribution to our economy and our environment will be more valued in the years ahead and I am committed to continuing the work I do to assist this.”

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