Saturday, December 2, 2023

Calling ag game-changers: Zanda McDonald applications open

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Trans-Tasman award one of the most coveted in Australasian agribusiness.
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The search is on for the next generation of game-changers making a difference in agriculture, with applications for the 2024 Zanda McDonald Award to open on October 1. 

The trans-Tasman award, now entering its 10th year, is one of the most coveted prizes of its kind in Australasian agribusiness. 

The award is open to Australian and New Zealand residents aged 21-35 working in the agriculture sector, and provides development for personal and professional growth. One winner is chosen from Australia and one from NZ every year. Both receive a fully personalised education, training and mentoring package in both countries, spending time with leaders across all areas of the primary sector. 

“Ten years is a pretty special milestone, particularly when we get to witness the impact it’s having on the career trajectory of our winners and finalists, as well as the sector at large,” Zanda McDonald Award chair Shane McManaway said.

“Now we’re on the lookout for the next crop of passionate young Kiwis and Aussies who are making a difference and wanting to go to new heights. 

“Through this award we can provide the avenues and support to help them get there. The winners will get face to face with some of the biggest and most successful agricultural operators in Australasia to really elevate their thinking, and we’ll arm them with strong leadership skills and unparalleled opportunities that money can’t buy.” 

The winners’ programmes are tailored to their desired areas of interest and growth, with the mentoring trips seen as a real highlight. All travel and accommodation costs are covered, including flights by private plane to remote and varied locations.

Harriet Bremner, the 2023 New Zealand award winner, said she has been “so humbled by the experience so far”.

“What makes it particularly special is the amazing network I now have through the award family, and the ongoing support and guidance.”    

Bremner, a farmer at Jericho Station, Manapouri, Southland, is a children’s book author and a health, safety and wellbeing advocate for agriculture. 

She won the award alongside Australian Mitch Highett, founder and managing director of farm management company Bullseye Ag. His business works with farms across New South Wales and Queensland with an area totalling over200,000ha. 

“It’s been an absolute game-changer for me, and the customised programme has opened so many doors,” Highett said.

“I’ve made connections that will continue to support me right through my career, and can’t recommend it enough.” 

Zanda McDonald was prominent in the Australian beef and livestock industry. He died in April 2013 at the age of 41, following an accident on his Queensland cattle property. Launched in 2014, the award was born out of mateship and respect for one of agriculture’s natural leaders.

Applications open on October 1, 2023 and close on Tuesday, October 31 at 5pm. 

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