Awards aim to change perception

September 27, 2011

The 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards aim to change some urban perceptions of the country’s dairy farmers and the dairy industry.

Awards executive committee chair Matthew Richards says the 2012 awards will culminate with a series of activities in Auckland that leads into the national awards dinner, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced.

“We want Auckland and the rest of the country to witness the bright, talented and well presented individuals that are working hard on this country’s dairy farms to drive the dairy industry forward as the global leader that it is .

“Many of our past winners have gone on to leadership roles within the industry and we expect many of our current winners will be the industry’s future leaders,” Mr Richards, a Southland dairy farmer, says.

The 2011 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Jason and Lisa Suisted said they initially entered the awards to“stand out from the pack” when applying for sharemilking positions. They have gained considerably more.

“What we did not know at the time was how much we were going to learn both about ourselves and our business. We’ve been able to fine tune some of our farm systems and the awards had also allowed us to work side by side, highlighting the strengths we both bring to the business.”

Mr Suisted says the awards challenged them and forced them to take a brutal and critical look at their business.

“The benefits from this have paid off immensely.”

Like the Young Farmer of the Year and other industry competitions, the Dairy Industry Awards provide wonderful opportunities for participants to look at and improve  their own businesses, learn from other entrants and showcase farming.


Celebrating winners counters tall poppy syndrome

July 3, 2011

Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier is Federated Farmers Agribusiness Person of the Year.

This is fair recognition of the work he has done in the nearly eight years he’s led the company.

Agri-Personality of the Year  was awarded to John Hartnell and the Farmy Army.

John Hartnell was nominated to recognise his leadership of the ‘Farmy-Army’, which assisted Christchurch’s earthquake recovery from February of this year and again in June.

John was prepared to lead the Federation’s efforts to help the people of urban Christchurch in the recovery phase of the earthquake’s aftermath. In taking on the role as Federated Farmers Earthquake Spokesperson the morning after the earthquake, John worked closely with Civil Defence to understand the immediate needs of Christchurch residents and to identify assistance that would fit with the abilities and enthusiasm of our farmer members.

Over the next two days, John worked closely with a core group of Federated Farmers members to assemble a volunteer group and a base at the A+P Showgrounds. This included a team of support staff, team leaders and cooks. Sponsors were very keen to help in tangible ways, including cash donations, equipment, food and drinks.

The media were inspired by the actions of Federated Farmers and thus, the ‘Farmy Army’ was born.

We all know the efforts and achievements in the four weeks of help given to Christchurch and now, a further week jointly with the Student Volunteer Army.

What has amazed many, are the number of Christchurch people who, upon learning you are a farmer, very quickly and without prompting say, “are you part of the Farmy Army? What a magnificent job”, or “they arrived an cleared my elderly neighbour’s section” and “they cleaned up my driveway when I was away working”, “They were a Godsend”

The actions of the Farmy Army did a tremendous job in breaking down the rural-urban divide with compassion and caring shown by country people; something not so often seen in big cities today.

Most certainly John was assisted by a large team, but his leadership, inspiration and dedication to that team was a pivotal part of the success of the Farmy Army. John’s trademark “hand on the shoulder” is his most genuine was of saying “Thanks, your help is most appreciated”.

Mr Hartnell played tribute in his acceptance to Murray Rowlands, North Canterbury Grain & Seed chairperson, for his leadership during last year’s Canterbury earthquake. Overall, John Hartnell, Commander in Chief of the Farmy Army, is a deserved winner of the 2011 Agri-Personality of the Year on behalf of everyone who volunteered in the Farmy Army.

 Federated Farmers Cream of the Crop awards recognise those who have won various national awards over the past twelve months went to:

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker / Equity Farmers of the Year – Jason & Lisa Suisted

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker / Equity Farmers of the Year Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Richard and Joanna Greaves

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Farm Manager of the Year -Jason Halford

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Dairy Trainee of the Year – Ben Smith

Rural Women New Zealand Enterprising Rural Women Supreme Awards – Lisa Harper

Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award – Waipapa 9 Trust (Dawson Haa, Chairman)

NZ Young Farmers National Bank Young Farmer of the Year 2010 – Grant McNaughton

New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust Ballance Farm Environment Award – Grant and Bernadette Weller.

One way to counter the tall poppy syndrome  is to celebrate winners and this initiative by Federated Farmers does that well.


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