Sarah Speight will take up the role of general manager for farm performance at DairyNZ.
DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says Speight is is highly-regarded in the dairy sector.
“I am confident she will provide excellent leadership for our farmer-facing regional teams,” Mackle said.
“This is where we have a focus on partnering with dairy farmers to achieve the best outcomes for them and our sector.
“She brings a wealth of experience to the position, both as a farmer and in advisory roles.”
Speight has worked in the agricultural sector for more than 25 years.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University, she began as a consulting officer with LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation).
She later moved to Southland to farm with her husband Mark, and worked in extension and farm systems roles at DairyNZ predecessor Dexcel.
Since then, Speight has worked in Pakistan, Chile, Indonesia and Myanmar in senior agricultural operations, management, governance and consulting roles.
This includes working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s New Zealand Aid programme designing and managing dairy and agricultural projects.
She also served as Dairy Women’s Network chief executive officer from 2011 to 2013.
Most recently, she led DairyNZ’s regional team in the Bay of Plenty.
“I’m passionate about dairying and farmers. DairyNZ is a huge asset to the dairy sector – delivering world class research and development, extension and support to dairy farmers,” Speight said.
“Our farmer services are a key part of DairyNZ and I’m looking forward to working with our farmer-facing team as they focus on helping farmers navigate the complex environment they operate in, and supporting them to be profitable and sustainable.”