RED Cliffs horticulturist Tania Chapman is Victoria's Rural Woman of the Year.
The wine grape and citrus grower from the state's far north west has been named winner by Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh at Parliament House in Melbourne today.
Ms Chapman's win comes as the citrus industry faces dire times.
She was saluted from five finalists in the 2012 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women's Award and receives a $10,000 grant to support her leadership development.
Elise Wenden, a biological farmer from Charlton in northern Victoria, was named runner-up.
Mr Walsh congratulated each of the five finalists and said the award recognised the contribution women made to primary industries.
"This is all about paying tribute to the hard work and dedication of these women to agriculture and rural Victoria,'' he said.
"It is focused on supporting women with strong leadership skills, a positive vision for the future of agriculture and the potential to make a difference.
"Tania has demonstrated her leadership capacity in her local community and her industry.''
Ms Chapman chairs Citrus Australia and is general manager of Colignan Producers Company, with 140ha of wine grape and citrus orchards.
Ms Chapman was heavily involved in a national crisis campaign launched in the middle of last year by CA.
Many growers were facing financial collapse as a result of plummeting returns.
Despite the best crop of oranges in more than a decade, the high Australian dollar meant citrus exports were much less competitive in international markets, causing returns to drop by as much as 58 per cent.
At the time, Ms Chapman said she would not pick up to 40 per cent of her oranges this year, making it the worst season in 20 years.
"At this point in time, most navel oranges are costing more to pick than what they're selling for, let alone what they cost to grow,'' she said.
"This season most growers would be lucky if they got a quarter of the selling price of navel oranges, which is just devastating.''
Other finalists were Jeanette Severs, Janelle Boynton and Louise FitzRoy.
Ms Chapman will join winners from other states and territories as finalists for the national award to be announced in Canberra in October to coincide with World Rural Women's Day.