Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year nominations open

The role of women in the dairy industry is under the spotlight, with nominations open for this year's Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award.

Now in its ninth year, the prestigious award celebrates the outstanding leadership of women in the dairy sector.

The award was established in 2012 by the Dairy Women's Network.

CEO Jules Benton said she was inspired by the high calibre of last year's finalists and was looking forward to seeing who comes forward for the 2020 awards.

"Women on farms 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 and there is no doubt women are being recognised as leaders in the dairy industry."

Primary school teacher Trish Rankin from Taranaki was this year's Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.
Primary school teacher Trish Rankin from Taranaki was this year's Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year. Photo credit: Supplied

Benton said many of their network members were humble about their efforts and didn't realise how much they were actually doing and what a difference they were making.

"The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards is a way of recognising and celebrating this effort."

The award had been supported by Fonterra since its inception with recipients receiving a scholarship prize of $20,000 to undertake an approved professional development programme.

Fonterra's managing director of cooperative affairs, Mike Cronin, said the co-op was proud to support the award as it was 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 - women who are passionate about the dairy industry, leaders across the sector and in their communities and networks, and who are contributing to the frameworks that will enable the next generation of farmers to succeed."

The finalists for the awards will be selected by a judging panel of representatives from the Dairy Women's Network, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a previous recipient.

Primary school teacher Trish Rankin from Taranaki was this year's Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year. 

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 undertaken the Kellogg Leadership Programme with the main purpose of being a research project focused on how a circular economy model can be developed on a New Zealand dairy farm.

An active Dairy Enviro Leader (DEL) and member of the NZ DEL network Rankin is also Chair of the Taranaki DEL group. Last year she was elected onto the National Executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and was selected as a NZ Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change.

"Trish has been an outstanding Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year," said Benton 

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

Nominations are now open and the winner will be announced at the Dairy Women's Network conference gala dinner in Hamilton next year on May 6.

Nominations close April 3, 2020.