A record number of applicants have been narrowed down to a shortlist of seven for the prestigious agribusiness badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.
The trans-Tasman award, now in its fourth year, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals. The four New Zealand and three Australian finalists for the 2018 award were selected for their strong leadership skills, passion for agriculture, and their vision and inspiration for the primary industry.
The Kiwi finalists are Thomas MacDonald, 24, Business Manager of Spring Sheep Milk Company in Waikato and Sir Don Llewellyn scholar, Lisa Kendall, 25, owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd and vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club, Ashley Waterworth 34, who manages and co-owns the family sheep and beef farm in Waikato, and Hamish Clarke, 27, third generation farm manager in the Northern King Country.
The trio of Australian candidates are Elise Bowen, 27 owner/operator of Sheep Data Management in Wagga Wagga, Byron O’Keefe, 33, owner/operator of livestock business O’Keefe Pastoral Company and 2016 Landmark/ALEC Young Achiever, and Janet Reddan, 33, former agronomist now cattle producer from Roma, Queensland.
The seven were named following a review from a panel of 8 judges. Interviews for the seven shortlisted applicants will take place in Auckland later this month, where the judging panel will reduce the group down to a list of three finalists.
Shane McManaway, award judge and chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) – the Australasian networking group behind the award – says the judging panel were all really impressed with the calibre of applicants for this years’ award.
“We’ve been blown away by many of the people that applied, and particularly by these seven candidates. Each one demonstrates natural leadership ability, and has the type of traits we’re looking for, including passion and understanding, ambition and a desire to improve the industry.
“Zanda McDonald was one of life’s true inspirations. This award is a tribute to him and to the enormous contribution he made to agri-business. It’s also an opportunity for us to help the next tier of young agri leaders. This includes a tailored mentoring programme for the winner as part of the $50,000 prize package.”
The three finalists will be announced towards the end of the year, and will be invited to attend the PPP Conference in Taupo in March 2018. The winner will be announced at the event.
Zanda McDonald Award
Zanda McDonald was a prominent identity in the Australian beef and livestock industry and a foundation member of the PPP Group. He died in April 2013 at the age of 41, following a tragic accident on his Queensland cattle property. Launched in 2014 by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group, this award was born out of mate-ship and respect for one of agriculture’s natural leaders.
The PPP Group is a collective of over 130 of Australasia’s most influential rural leaders, representing over 12 million hectares (28%) of farmland across the two countries and over 20 million livestock units.
The award is open to passionate and determined individuals under the age of 35 years who are currently working in the agri-business sectors of either Australia or New Zealand, and who demonstrate natural leadership ability.