Kojaneerup farmer Alaina Smith awarded prestigious Growing Leaders Scholarship for 2022

Headshot of Liam Croy
Liam CroyGreat Southern Herald
Dr Alaina Smith from Kojaneerup.
Camera IconDr Alaina Smith from Kojaneerup. Credit: Catherine Woods

Great Southern farmer Alaina Smith has been awarded a prestigious Growing Leaders Scholarship for 2022.

Dr Smith, who has a PhD in crop physiology, is a partner in her family’s mixed cropping and livestock business in Kojaneerup, and the vice-chair of Stirlings to Coast Farmers.

She worked as a barley development officer for the WA Government before joining the family farm in 2006.

Dr Smith will develop her skills in Leadership WA’s 10-month Signature Leadership Program, valued at $15,500.

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The program brings together a range of professionals from WA’s corporate, government, small business and not-for-profit sectors.

The scholarships are funded by CBH Group, co-ordinated by the Grower Group Alliance and delivered by Leadership WA.

They aim to boost the leadership development skills of existing and emergency leaders in the WA grain industry.

Dr Smith was selected as one of two WA scholarship recipients alongside Ben Cripps, who runs a grain farm with his wife north of Northampton.

Mid West grain farmer Ben Cripps.
Camera IconMid West grain farmer Ben Cripps. Credit: Supplied

Mr Cripps has been an active member of the Northern Agri Group, serving in various roles including as chair.

Before managing the farm, Mr Cripps was in the Australian Army, which included a deployment to Afghanistan.

CBH Group spokeswoman Brianne Peake said the scholarships were were designed to get more growers ready to take on leadership roles in their industry.

“Sponsoring the program is part of our commitment to fostering leadership capacity within our regional communities, where having a pipeline of strong leaders is so important for the sustainability of our industry, communities and for the CBH Group,” she said.

Leadership WA chief executive Dominique Mecoy welcomed Dr Smith and Mr Cripps into the program.

“These two worthy recipients will have the opportunity to access the State’s most experienced and insightful leaders, and to take part in a journey embracing leadership far beyond management thinking,” she said.

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