Kate O’Callaghan manages the most productive cotton gin in the world.

Story By Genevieve Barlow

When six farmers who’d never ginned cotton before decided to start their own company and build a gin from the ground up, they knew they’d need someone smart to manage it. Luck dealt them an ace when Kate O’Callaghan came along three years ago. The former agronomist walked on to the greenfields site of Australia’s southernmost gin near Whitton, NSW, without even knowing her job title.
As Kate puts it, there was nothing but a shed with a hole in the ground. “There was no internet, no phone line,” she says. “I’d come from working for a corporate where the business processes and accreditations were well established to something that had no processes. We didn’t even have a chart of accounts.”
A year later, after the Southern Cotton gin produced more bales in a season than any other gin in the world, Kate was officially appointed general manager. Last year she was listed among Australia’s 100 most influential women in agribusiness.

This Story is from Issue #102

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2015