Federated Farmers’ president Bruce Wills is the 2014 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.
. . .In the three years he has led Federated Farmers, Bruce has been an outstanding communicator, successfully representing the interests of farmers with his open, friendly and enthusiastic manner, helped by his willingness to listen to people.
Ahead of several other very worthy recipients, Bruce was selected by an independent panel of judges to receive this prestigious award, announced at an awards dinner in Hamilton last night.
Bruce farms with his brother at Te Pohue, on a sheep and beef operation carrying 7500 stock units. The farm is 1134 hectares, of which 800 hectares are farmed and the balance is in trees and 110 hectares which are protected through the QEII National Trust. He left a career in rural banking after 20 years to return to the family farm and has invested heavily in the long-term sustainability of the farm.
In its 28th year, the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year Award is administered by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, and recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues, events or information.
Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, it is also the most valuable prize on offer. Landcorp provides a prize of $2500, which is part of a funding package of $7500 in sponsorship for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs, including the Awards dinner.
Bruce was also presented with a greenstone and timber trophy, which features a roll call of previous winners engraved on the back.
Guild President Graeme Peters said Bruce is a very worthy recipient of this year’s award.
“He is widely respected for his role in bridging the gap between rural and urban people, and has spent countless hours talking not only farmers to but also urban people, selling the importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy.
“His communication skills at all levels and covering all aspects of rural life are recognised by this award.”
Federated Farmers has had a much improved public profile under Wills’ leadership thanks in no part to his willingness and ability to communicate clearly and honestly.
He’s given praise when and where it’s due but has also been willing to accept criticism without being defensive.
He has been a strong advocate for farmers, farming and wider rural issues and has earned this recognition.