Wednesday, 27 November 2019 12:55

Nominations invited for top dairy woman

Written by  Pam Tipa
Jules Benton, DWN chief executive. Jules Benton, DWN chief executive.

Nominations for the 2020 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards have opened.

Last year’s finalists were of a high calibre says Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) chief executive Jules Benton. 

“Women on farm all juggle many multiple roles,” she said. 

“They need to be able to care for their animals as well as be anything from a financial planner and strategic thinker through to a mechanic and mum. 

“There is no doubt women are being recognised as leaders in the dairy industry.” 

Benton says many network members are humble about their efforts. 

They just don’t realise how much they are actually doing and what a difference they are making.

 So the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards is a way of recognising this effort and it gives others in the industry something to aspire to. 

The prestigious award was established in 2012 by DWN as a key strand in its support of women in leadership who provide inspiration, learning and education. 

The award has been supported by Fonterra since it began. Winners receive a $20,000 scholarship to take an approved professional development course. 

Mike Cronin, Fonterra’s managing director of co-operative affairs, says the co-op is proud to support the award as it’s a celebration of high performers in the dairy industry. 

“No other award in New Zealand specifically recognises and encourages the capability and success of women in the dairy industry,” he said. 

“While only one will be named the winner, each year we see many outstanding women nominated. They are passionate about the dairy industry, leaders across the sector and in their communities and networks, and contributing to the frameworks that will enable the next generation of farmers to succeed.” 

The finalists will be judged by representatives of DWN, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a previous recipient. 

DWN trustee and awards judge Alison Gibb says the award recognises a woman who has already achieved a great deal beyond the farmgate but has not yet reached her full potential.

“We know that with support the winner will go from good to great.” 

Nominations are now open and the winner will be announced at the DWN conference gala dinner in Hamilton next year on May 6. Anyone may nominate a DWN member for the award but nominators need not be DWN members. 

Outstanding in her role

Dairy Woman of the Year for 2019 Trish Rankin, a primary teacher from Taranaki, was outstanding in her role, says Benton.

“She has taken every opportunity offered to speak and present at events and has been motivating as an inspiring leader in our industry.”

She balances teaching part time at Opunake Primary School and being on farm full time in South Taranaki with her husband Glen and their four boys. 

A passionate environmentalist, she has taken the Kellogg Leadership Programme to research how a circular economy model can be developed on a New Zealand dairy farm. 

Rankin is a Dairy Enviro Leader, a member of the NZ DEL network and chair of the Taranaki DEL group. Last year she was elected to the national executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and was a NZ Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change. 

Nominations close April 3, 2020 at

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