He has a 600-cow farm at Dargaville under a farm manager and lives and works in Auckland in property development and investment.
Rutherford has been a dairy farmer for 23 years beginning with a conversion near Te Aroha and supplying NZ Dairy Group before buying a second farm in Northland and subsequently selling up in Waikato.
He is a director of many private companies and partnerships but has had no previous public roles in Fonterra or elsewhere.
With the written support of 35 shareholders he was the only non-assessed candidate nominated in the 10 days from September 17 to 27.
The other four candidates went through the independent assessment panel route. They are incumbents Donna Smit and Andy Macfarlane and newcomers Cathy Quinn and Philipp Haas.
The election is for two farmer-directors and profiles and position statements will be sent to all Fonterra shareholders on October 15, followed by a roadshow of candidate meetings beginning on October 22.
Voting closes on November 5 before the annual meeting in Invercargill on November 7.