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Awarded for service to Agriculture
Born: 9 September 1959
Entered on roll: 2008
Born in Launceston, Ruth Paterson is married to Phillip. They have two daughters. Ruth and Phillip own and operate a mixed farming and irrigation enterprise in the Oaks district of central Northern Tasmania. Their business, Moreton Hill Investments, imports a range of hard hose irrigators from Italy and has had international success. Moreton Hill’s skills and product knowledge were recognised in June 2004, when the company was contracted by its European supplier to undertake the commissioning of 60 hard-hose irrigators to Indonesia’s largest pineapple grower in Southern Sumatra.
However, Ruth’s success has not been limited to the family business. Ruth’s career in the Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW) allowed her to play a role in the development of government policy and programs addressing the needs of rural women. Ruth was employed by DPIW from 1994 to 2003, during which time she was instrumental in developing the Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Program (TWiA), a non-government networking organisation for rural women, which now has more than a thousand members.
Ruth is passionate about creating opportunities for rural women, and this passion has crossed national and international borders. Ruth was the first woman in Australia to chair an Agriculture Field Day Committee (Agfest, 1993 and 1994) and is featured in the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame in Alice Springs. She was the instigator for the exchange program between TWiA and the Nebraska Women in Agriculture organisation, and has been a Tasmanian delegation leader at World Rural Women’s Congress conferences in Australia, the USA and Spain.
Ruth is also an accomplished speaker and writer and has presented at conferences and submitted articles on rural women’s issues to organisations including the ABC and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Ruth’s experience in her field has led to her serving on a variety of boards and committees. This has included terms as the Chair of the Rural Financial Counselling Service of Tasmania, Vice-President of the Tasmanian Poppy Growers Association and membership of the Pearns Steam World Management Trust.
Ruth has received a number of awards in recognition of her contributions to agriculture, including the first Tasmanian Rural Woman of the Year Award in 1994, the 1995 Tasmanian Rural Youth Service Award and the 1996 Meander Valley Australia Day Citizen of the Year award. Ruth currently serves on the board of the Rivers and Water Supply Commission.