Nominations have opened for a series of prestigious Gippsland agribusiness awards, including the inaugural Female Agribusiness Leader of the Year.
Along with the female-only award, a young agribusiness leader will be named as well as the Agribusiness of the Year at the Excellence in Agribusiness Awards in Sale on August 14.
The three awards celebrate innovation and collaboration and coincide with more than a dozen other food and fibre supply chain awards set to be presented at the ceremony.
Excellence Agribusiness Awards program manager Kate Gunn hoped the new female agribusiness category would attract a diverse range of entries from across eastern Victoria.
"There's so many amazing women in the agribusiness sector of Gippsland and now is the time to put them in the spotlight," Ms Gunn.
"We have a lot of quiet achievers and in a lot of successful businesses there's women behind the scenes and they're heavily involved in the research and planning of business decisions.
"Often their insights can come from an angle in the business the men might not of thought of and that's why we wanted to recognised them."
The winner of the award will take part in a Women in Leadership program sponsored by Leadership Victoria worth $6000.
"It's a highly-regarded program that provides participants with the skills, confidence and networks to lead others and be a change-maker in their business and region," Ms Gunn said.
"It's our second year doing these awards and it covers the whole supply chain so primary producers, service providers, food manufacturers/exporters which are all so important in driving economic input for Gippsland."
Ms Gunn said following Gippsland's three-year drought, the January/December bushfires and now COVID-19, it was a timely reminder to recognise regional businesses and leaders that keep the industry ticking.
"We see the resilience of these primary producers and the food and fibre industry and so in the face of this adversity, we're encouraging people and businesses to enter and be recognised for their efforts," she said.
The Agribusiness of the Year will receive seven-day international tour worth $15,000 while the Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year will undergo a rural leadership program valued at $10,000.
Entries close on May 21 with judging arrangements will comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
For more information and to enter, visit foodandfibregippsland.com.au.