AN ALEXANDRA forester who wants greater diversity in her industry has won Victoria's 2013 Rural Women's Award.
Michelle Freeman, the director for youth and women on the Institute of Foresters of Australia's board, claimed the honour this morning ahead of three other finalists.
She was acknowledged for her commitment to better engaging and supporting young people and women to help them become leaders in the forestry profession.
Ms Freeman will now contend for the national award, which will be announced in October by the Rural Industries and Research Development Corporation.
She also received a $10,000 bursary to support her leadership development.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh congratulated Ms Freeman on her achievement.
"The RIRDC Rural Women's Award honours and recognises the hard work, perseverance and dedication of rural women to their industries and communities," Mr Walsh said.
"The award pays tribute to women with a strong, positive vision for the future of the farm sector and who demonstrate a significant contribution to shaping that future."
"On behalf of the Victorian Coalition Government I would like to congratulate Michelle Freeman for winning this year's award."
Faraday wine grape, cattle and sheep producer Jo Clifford was the runner-up.