Steph Cooke

All-Female Team For Harden Boorowa NSW Farmers Branch

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix


IMAGE: Meet the all-female committee for Harden Boorowa NSW Farmers Branch.

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Harden NSW Farmers Branch back in July 2022, outgoing President, Ralph Gebhart stepped down from his many years of service.

A brand new committee was elected incorporating the Harden and Boorowa branches.

New Secretary, Wendy Bowman said the new team was keen to get more interest in what the branch is doing out into the community. “The Harden Branch will now also incorporate our Boorowa members,” Ms Bowman said.

“The new team is keen to hold face to face events and engage with the community. We are all interested in utilising the funds available to our branch to help address local issues and operate safe and sustainable farms.”

Their first job was to ensure that the Boorowa members were visibly part of the branch so the name and logo have been updated.

The all-female committee consists of:

  • Bronwyn Ryan, President
  • Nikki Burton-Taylor, Vice President
  • Elke Cleverdon, Vice President
  • Christie de Mestre, Treasurer
  • Wendy Bowman, Secretary

Bronwyn Ryan is a passionate farmer, music educator and mother of two who moved to the Harden district in 1998 with her husband, Matthew to run a successful mixed farming operation of sheep, beef cattle and grain.

They started with 800 acres and have expanded to managing 3400 acres in the district and strive to run a safe, enjoyable, socially and environmentally sustainable farm business that is productive and profitable.

Bronwyn has completed an Agribusiness Diploma and considerable livestock/grazing management and business administration courses.

Elke Cleverdon has a genuine passion for agriculture and essential services to regional and rural areas - health, education and banking. She and her husband own and operate a broadacre farming enterprise in Harden encompassing grain and black Angus beef production.

Elke was selected by the National Farmers Federation for their flagship leadership program, Diversity in Agriculture Leadership, earlier this year. “I have a strong personal understanding of the many challenges faced by rural communities, farmers and their families today,” Elke said.

She is a fellow CPA accountant, holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) with over 20 years of board experience and brings 16 years of executive management experience in customer-owned banking, 30 years of grassroots agricultral/farm experience and six years as a financial coach for the NSW Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Nikki Burton-Taylor is a corporate lawyer with a background in risk and corporate governance, having worked as an in-house lawyer in the financial and agribusiness industries for the last 15 years, and in private practice prior to that.

She and her husband, Sam moved to Boorowa in 2012 where they now run a mixed farming operation encompassing the Kenny’s Creek Angus stud, as well as a beef and lamb export business, KC Natural.

They have four young children and Nikki is a member of the local Country Education Foundation committee and president of the Boorowa Early Education Centre.

Christie de Mestre completed a fashion and textiles degree from RMIT at the end of 2013 before moving back to the family farm in Harden to work for the summer. Fast forward nine years and she’s still here, and now has an Agribusiness Diploma from Marcus Oldham College in Geelong.

She and her partner, Ian manage their properties which consist of dry land cropping, merino and fat lamb enterprises. Christie approaches farming with triple-bottom-line management practice and she and Ian are very conscious of leaving a profitable, diverse, resilient and healthy business to their two young girls.

Wendy Bowman works with her husband, James on his family farm, a mixed farming operation in Harden.

She has a background in Health and Human Resources (Bachelor of Social Work, Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management) working within regional NSW since 2000 as a consultant in Injury Management, Human Resources, Workplace Safety, Counselling and Conflict Resolution.

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Steph Cooke