Two women deemed to be dedicated and inspiring influences in their dairy communities have won the Dairy Community Leadership Award at the annual Dairy Women’s Network Conference in Invercargill.
The Dairy Community Leadership Award is open to all Dairy Women’s Network members and recognises dairying women who make significant contributions in their local community, through leadership and support.
The 2015 recipients of the award are Western Southland farmer Jo Sanford and Northern Southland mum Rachael Nicholson.
The major prizes awarded were a leadership course sponsored by calf rearing specialists Milk Bar and an Agri One Sustainability Course sponsored by ASB.
Sanford and her husband converted their Tuatapere, Western Southland sheep and beef farm to dairy in 2007, and now milk 800 cows.
“Giving back to the community is very important to me and sharing my knowledge, skills and experience gives me huge personal satisfaction,” she says.
“I was honoured to be named as a finalist for this award.”
Nicholson and her husband Scott started out their farming career 50/50 sharemilking in Riversdale, Northern Southland. They milked on three different farms over seven seasons, growing their herd and building capital with the aim of purchasing their own farm, which they achieved in 2007 and converted in 2008.
After having children, Nicholson joined numerous committees as well as Dairy Women’s Network where she became the Gore Regional Group convenor for four years; a role she handed over in 2014.
The family have since sold their farm but remained living in the same community, which has freed Nicholson up to be involved in more community groups. She still has her AI tech certificate and leases dairy stock.
There were four finalists up for this year’s title, including Te Aroha farmer Tania Earnshaw and Western Southland farmer Katrina Thomas.
The selection panel for the Dairy Community Leadership Award comprised Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers, and a North and South Island Dairy Women’s Network regional convenor.