A Taranaki primary school teacher and passionate environmentalist has been announced as the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.
Trish Rankin was named the winner of the prestigious dairy award at the Allflex Dairy Women's Network's conference gala awards dinner in Christchurch on Wednesday night.
Rankin 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 undertaken the Kellogg Leadership Programme this year with the main purpose being a research project focused on ‘how can a circular economy model be developed on a NZ dairy farm.'
Rankin said she was both a farm assistant and CEO of their farming business, having learnt over the years to milk, drive tractors, feed stock and do fences as well as sort the Health and Safety and human resources out.
An active Dairy Enviro Leader (DEL) and member of the NZ DEL network Rankin is also Chair of the Taranaki DEL group. In 2018 she was elected onto the National Executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and last year was selected as a NZ Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change.
Dairy Women's Network Trustee who heads up the judging panel Alison Gibb said the judges were impressed with Rankin’s self-awareness, her preparedness to grow and focus her ‘make it happen’ attitude towards problem solving environmental issues.
Gibbs said the strong message from this year's finalists was although each was very passionate about their own farming operation, they all had an inner drive to go beyond and make the dairy industry a better place for all and future generations.
"They all want to make their mark in the dairy industry and feel a real need to get out beyond the gate to make a difference and to do their bit to leave the dairy industry better than it was before," she said.
All the women are heavily involved in business and community networks while finding time to work on professional development and spend time with family.
The award was presented by Mike Cronin, Fonterra's Managing Director of Co-operative Affairs.
"It was my absolute pleasure to present Trish with the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award," Cronin said.
"Her passion for the environment, sustainable farming and community leadership represent the finest qualities of our Co-operative. I would also like to congratulate the other finalists for their dedication and commitment to our Co-op and the wider industry."
As Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Rankin receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional business development programme, sponsored by Fonterra.
The other finalists were Kylie Leonard who farms north of Taupo, Julie Pirie from Ngatea in the Waikato and Southlander Emma Hammond.