RURAL CHAMPION: Sharron Windolf from Windolf Farms in front of a broccoli crop in the Lockyer Valley.
RURAL CHAMPION: Sharron Windolf from Windolf Farms in front of a broccoli crop in the Lockyer Valley. Amy Lyne

Windolf the leading lady in horticulture

SHARRON Windolf was not born into a farming family, but that did not stop her from embracing the industry.

Mrs Windolf, from Upper Tenthill in the Lockyer Valley, was awarded the prestigious Women in Horticulture Award at the 2016 National Awards for Excellence.

She and her husband Paul own Windolf Farms, along with Paul's two cousins and their partners.

It is a 404.7ha (1000acre) farming operation where they produce and pack lettuce, broccoli, parsnips, washed potatoes, pumpkin and watermelon.

They have fully owned the property since 2008 after buying the farm from Paul's parents.

"I wasn't brought up in farming at all. I was brought up in a farming area though," Mrs Windolf said.

In fact, she spent time studying accounting before working in banking and having a small retail business in nearby Gatton.

"But I married a farmer and learnt to embrace the industry," she said.

That was almost 22 years ago and, as well as the farm, Mrs Windolf has taken on other roles, including with the Lockyer Valley Growers Association, the vegetable industry's Farm Productivity, Resource Use and Management advisory panel that reviews applications for levy-funded research projects, and as a director of horticultural body Growcom.

On the farm she is responsible for administration, finance and compliance.

"For me, it is about continuing to learn and, you know, you can be in your job farming day after day so it is nice to get out of the bubble," Mrs Windolf said.

"When you marry a farmer, I think you have got to be involved in that industry as well and use the skills you have got."

Mrs Windolf said the award was a true reflection of the whole Windolf Farms business.


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