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Q&A with Liz Stott, 2024 Australian Cotton Conference Committee Chair

4 March, 2024

Q&A with Liz Stott, 2024 Australian Cotton Conference Committee Chair

Q: Liz, tell us a bit about yourself
My husband, Dallas and I own and run an irrigation farming business near Leeton, NSW and we’ve been growing cotton for over 13 years. Off farm, I worked in agricultural public relations and water policy for 10 years but now I work on the farm doing all our office work and am the Deputy Chair of Cotton Australia. We have two school age kids which keep me busy and I enjoy coaching at our local gym once a week.

Q: Phew, that seems a lot. How have you found time to volunteer for the Australian Cotton Conference Committee role?
I believe the Conference is such an important event to bring the industry together, and that we need to make sure the farmer voice is heard throughout the program of topics and speakers. It’s also a great opportunity to look outside the box a bit and include speakers and topics to help delegates feel inspired and learn about topics they might not have heard about before. We have a dedicated and experienced team behind Conference, which makes my job a lot easier!

Q: What did you take from your time with the Australian Rural Leadership Program in Course 20 that will help with this new role?
Cotton Australia and CRDC were my sponsors for the ARLP and leading the Conference Committee is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the industry. My most significant learning from the ARLP was the importance of leading for a higher purpose or greater good, compared to leading for reasons that are largely self-serving. There’s no doubt the Australian Cotton Conference is bigger than the sum of its parts, and there are so many aspects that make it such a special event. The course also taught me that the best leaders work to build relationships and collaborate to achieve a joint goal, which I hope we will be able to do in 2024.

Q: What does the Conference theme “Cultivating Excellence” mean to you?
Our conference theme makes me think of our cotton growers and researchers and the work they put in every year to ensure we continue to be the most efficient, innovative and sustainable cotton industry in the world. I’m hoping our program will reflect some of this inspiring work and feature topics that will help our growers leave with new knowledge that will help them continue to excel in the years to come.

Q: How is the Cotton Conference Committee structured and what is their role?
I believe the Committee needs to reflect the diverse range of delegates that we now see at Conference from farmers and researchers, to industry organisations and supply chain partners. This year it’s so exciting to have 15 new committee members (myself included) along with several returning members reflecting a real cross section from the industry, and everyone brings a different perspective to what we’ll learn, priority topics and how the conference should come together. All members volunteer their time to contribute speaker and session ideas, help recruit sponsors and Trade Show exhibitors, coordinate social events such as the First Timers Welcome and help out during Conference.

Q: What can delegates expect in 2024?
The Australian Cotton Conference was first held in 1986, and since then the event has grown and changed to now accommodate over 2,600 delegates from many walks of cotton life. We have a formula that works, and delegates will be familiar with much of what Conference will offer this year including over 130 expert speakers on a very broad range of topics, more than 100 exhibitors at the Trade Hall showcasing the best cotton innovations on offer and a host of social events to encourage networking. New additions so far will be an Olympic Lounge featuring replays of the Paris Olympics on big screens in the Trade Hall, a photo competition and a Conference App to help delegates connect with one another and keep updated in real time. There will be a lot more revealed as we move towards Conference so stay tuned via our socials, and the website at www.australiancottonconference.com.au

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