Fourth-generation Taranaki dairy farmer Donna Cram is the Fonterra 2023 Dairy Woman of the Year.
Cram, who is heavily involved in her community as the Taranaki Catchment Communities Inc chair and founder, is a DairyNZ Dairy environment leader, an ambassador for Federated Farmers and a Taranaki regional councillor.
The award was announced at the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) conference in Invercargill.
DWN trustee Donna Smit said she was thrilled to announce Cram as the 2023 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.
“The judges had an unenviable job with such an incredible group of women, but what stood out for them was the way that Donna inspired her community and especially encouraged young people.
“Her ability to see the big picture and then mobilise those around her was something the judges thought was really special.
“They were looking for commitment, drive and passion for the dairy sector, someone who is a positive role model for women in dairying.
“They were looking for a strong performer who demonstrates leadership within her community, and with a wider circle of influence, and who epitomises the ‘bigger, brighter, bolder’ mantra shared through the DWN Conference this week.
“Donna met what they were looking for and more. In particular, she exemplified taking a grassroots, local, regional and international view of dairy and you can see that translate into the influencing she does at regional and central government level. Donna lives the DWN’s values of seizing opportunities, building connections and being inclusive in all that she does, continually motivating others.”
Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said Cram is well known in the co-operative and is an outstanding ambassador for the industry.
“Her leadership qualities, community engagement and commitment to sustainability represent some of the best attributes of Kiwi dairy farmers. We want more young people coming into the dairy sector and she’s helping to do exactly that. Fonterra is proud to sponsor this award and we acknowledge all of the finalists for the significant contribution they have made, and continue to make, to our industry.”
Smit said Cram has a focus on the environment and how to produce amazing food in a sustainable way.
“She leads by example and her farm was one of three finalists in the Fonterra Responsible Dairy Award in 2021,” Smit said.
The judges also rated Cram highly for being a “real doer”, someone who is a life-long learner, who leads from the front and connects and inspires others through her inclusivity.
“I also want to recognise the three other amazing finalists, Kimberly Crewther, Rebecca Miller and Sheena Penwarden,” Smit said.
“They are each incredible women in their own unique ways. The passion, knowledge, leadership and mana they bring to the sector should be recognised and we celebrate them all and the incredible work that they are doing for our sector. They are everything we should be proud about in the dairy sector; they are courageous, kind, passionate and visionary.”
Cram will receive a scholarship of up to $20,000 for an approved and personally chosen development programme, or professional/business coaching and/or learning experience.