The DLG (German Agricultural Society) and Women in Ag Magazine have today (Tuesday, October 31) announced the winners of this year’s Women in Ag Awards.

Conferred by an international jury in four categories – Agriculture; Agribusiness; Education; and Technology and Research – the award recognises the contribution of women in agriculture, agri-business, academia and other organisations in the agricultural industry.

The award ceremony will take place at Agritechnica 2023, the trade fair for agricultural machinery, on November 15, in Hanover, Germany.

Women from the international agricultural industry were able to apply or be nominated for the award, which this year is being presented for the second time by the DLG and Women in Ag Magazine.

The winners were selected by an international jury of representatives from farming, the wider agricultural industry, science, organisations and the media.

The focus of the award is on special achievements for the development of local, national and international agriculture.

Winners by category

Category: Agriculture

First place: Kate Hoare, UK

Kate Hoare runs a dairy farm in south-east Cornwall with her husband. She introduced a new model for sustainable agriculture by installing a slurry lagoon to capture biomethane, which allows her to reduce the environmental impact of her farm.

The gas that is produced is reused, fueling the tractor and generator, potentially allowing independent operation.

Second place: Onyaole Patience Koku, Nigeria

Onyaole Patience is a seasoned entrepreneur with more than 20 years of agricultural experience in Nigeria.

Working with her husband, she runs a business producing 12,000 broiler chickens per production cycle, as well as trading raw materials locally and internationally.

Patience promotes access to scientific and innovative knowledge to increase efficiency and leads by example as a practitioner and farmer.

Third place: Judith de Vor, Netherlands

Judith runs a regenerative and sustainable dairy and teaching farm with her husband.

She pays special attention to nature, biodiversity and the environment around her and organises numerous activities to create understanding and awareness of agriculture in society.

She is a facilitator, speaker, advocate and influencer for the industry.

Category: Agribusiness

First place: Anna Maria Nunez Vega, India

Anna is a process engineer and food quality expert at Buhler. She founded and led the International Rice Milling Academy in Bangalore and works to improve global food and feed safety.

Her goal is to minimise losses during grain processing by improving storage techniques and educating customers, especially in tropical regions where storage losses are highest.

Second place: Joana Paiva, Portugal

Joana holds an MSc in biomedical engineering and a PhD in physics.

She is an inventor and the founder of iLoF – intelligent Lab on Fiber Ltd, an Oxford-based photonics and artificial intelligence start-up that is helping to accelerate and scale clinical trials through the development of novel patient stratification tools.

Third place: Forget Shareka, Zimbabwe

Forget’s contribution to sustainable agriculture and food systems has opened doors for her both locally and internationally, where she has led high-level discussions and advocated for women and smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe and across Africa.

Currently, Forget lives in Wales, UK, where she works as a sustainability consultant as part of her graduate programme, helping small and medium-sized businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, retail and energy sectors develop their sustainability goals and ambitions toward net zero.

Category: Education

First place: Amina Ali, Somalia

Amina advocates for women’s rights in agriculture at national and international level.

Through her expertise, together with the voices of the strong-willed women whose lives have been transformed by her school’s programmes, she has become an influential voice in bringing about policy change to prioritise gender equality in agriculture.

Second place: Salatu Abubakar, Ghana

Salatu Abubakar combines her expertise in empowering women smallholder farmers, processors and farming families through the building of capacity and agri-business, with a genuine passion for empowering women in agriculture.

As the Regional Representative for Women in Agricultural Development in the Northern Region, she has made a lasting impact on the lives of countless women by mentoring them and providing them with growth opportunities through linkages to the marketplace that have positively impacted their businesses and livelihoods.

Third place (joint): Funmilayo Ogunleke, Nigeria

Funmilayo is the deputy vice-chancellor of the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Ibadan.

She has made it her mission to promote dairy farming and milk production in Nigeria. E.g., she hosted the 2022 World School Milk Day in the country and coordinated the 2023 World Milk Day programme.

As a lecturer with broad access to young people, Funmilayo encourages her students to go into agriculture or study agriculture.

Third place (joint): Nirit Bernstein, Israel

Nirit is an international scientist and lecturer in agricultural research.

She has made exceptional, internationally recognised contributions to all areas of agricultural science (research, teaching, engagement, service and leadership).

She is a global leader in cannabis research, focused on strengthening the medicinal value of cannabis.

Category: Technology and Research

First place: Alfiya Kayumova, Latvia

Alfiya is an entrepreneur and agricultural technology expert with over 10 years of experience in business development, investment banking and agriculture.

As co-founder and CEO of Green Growth, she provides farmers with critical information on field performance and yield data, helping them solve the problem of inefficient use of inputs such as fertiliser and seed, thereby increasing profitability.

Second place: Stefanie Hartje, Germany

Stefanie combines several functions of the company in one person – she is manager, chief scientist and mentor, as well as being responsible for the integration of several departments.

She plays a key role in promoting state-of-the-art scientific techniques in the field of potato breeding.

With her commitment and innovative ideas, she plays a decisive role in making the potato fit for the future, strengthening it for the coming challenges in agriculture, such as climate change, drought and foregoing pesticides, among others.

Third place: Solvejg Kristensen, Denmark

Solveig is the managing director at Eye-Grain, a company that introduces new technologies to the industry and was the first to monitor moisture and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in containers in order to detect hotspots and insect or fungi spoilage at an early stage.

She conducts research for Aalborg University, has been cited in numerous academic papers, and promotes measures for her employees to improve mental health and reduce stress.

Women in Ag Award

Freya von Czettritz, CEO DLG Holding said: “More and more women are shaping the future of agriculture as managers on their own farms or in companies, research or academia.

“More and more women are initiators and drivers of sustainable food production worldwide.

“The Women in Ag Award recognises this commitment and tells the stories behind these inspiring women. At Agritechnica, we want to give this topic the attention it deserves,” she added.

Kim Schoukens, editor-in-chief of the digital Women in Ag Magazine added: “The international response to the competition was overwhelming. 132 women from 38 countries applied this year.

“The field of entrants was of exceptionally high quality, which underscores the growing importance of women in agriculture,” she said.