Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Editorial – Follow your dreams

It was very fitting that one of the first people I saw at the recent Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) Conference in Nelson was founding trustee, Robyn Clements. We’d first met at the inaugural conference of the group in Hamilton back in 2000 when I was freelancing for the Dairy Exporter. What a difference there has been in the time since those first steps for the organisation and the gathering of 250 women in late March.

A range of speakers urged dairy women to follow their dreams, whatever they may be. Newly appointed Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew, who we will profile in the May issue told them not only trailblazers were required but “the whole cohort”.

“You can have it all if you work out what all is,” she said.

Perhaps the most striking proof of DWN’s progress was the calibre of nominees for the Dairy Woman of the Year Award. The judges couldn’t have had a harder time in making their decision but awarded the title to Justine Kidd, pictured below with DWN chair Michelle Wilson.

Kidd worked at the Dairy Board as a consulting officer on the West Coast after completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours from Massey University, then joined the former Dairy Research Corporation (DRC). She was a founding director of Synlait, whose chief executive Juliet MacLean was another of the finalists.

Roles as chief executive of Equestrian Sports New Zealand and business manager of BEL, which farms 4000ha in Hawke’s Bay, followed.

She paid tribute both to dairying and its woman in her acceptance speech, saying it was a wonderful industry and its women were doing an amazing job.

She would do her best to connect rural and urban during her Fonterra-sponsored $25,000 scholarship to Global Women’s Women in Leadership Programme.

Maybe this is where most work is required as many of the speakers at the conference took a swipe at “townies” and attitudes they believed they displayed towards farming, and dairying in particular.

Nothing is gained by hitting out at imagined enemies. If there is only one thing that the drought conditions have taught this summer it’s that we’re all in this together.

PS. In an advertising insert in the March issue Agriseeds’ hybrid ryegrass, Shogun, was incorrectly described as a perennial.

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