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Synlait Farms Takes South Island Farmer of the Year Title


Synlait Farms Takes Out South Island Farmer of the Year title for 2012

Canterbury-based dairy enterprise Synlait Farms clinched the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition for 2012 last night (Thursday 8 November 2012) with an entry that judges hailed as a prime example of New Zealand’s leadership role in innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural practice.

Chief Judge Bob Simpson said that all four finalists demonstrated leadership, excellence and innovation.

“Any of the finalists could have won this award tonight,” Simpson said. “But in the finish it was Synlait’s blend of family-based traditional farming practices with the very best of modern corporate innovation and management systems that saw this multi-farm company stand out. Synlait’s approach to its people, its stock and its land can be held up as an example of what can be achieved when good leadership and good people go hand-in-hand.”

Juliet Maclean CEO of Synlait Farms welcomed the win on behalf of her team.

“In an owner-operated business, at the end of the day what you’ve achieved can be measured by your own efforts,” she said. “But at the end of a Synlait day our success is measured by our large team of people. The three Synlait founders, John Penno, Ben Dingle and myself come from farming families, and really that’s how we work at Synlait too, it’s just that our Synlait Farms family is a lot bigger.”

Ashburton farmers Deane and Joanne Taylor, who run a specialist mixed arable property supplemented by dairy grazing, store lambs and breeding ewes, supplemented by a spraying business and publishing Latitude magazine, were runners up and winners of the best presentation of the night at the finals held at Lincoln University.

The other finalists were Gavin Loxton with Sue Allan from Sawdon Station near Lake Tekapo, and Andy and Kate Chapman from upper Rakaia Gorge.

“Judging between a corporate entry like Synlait Farms and family-owned farms proved a challenge,” said Ben Todhunter, chair of the Lincoln University Foundation and one of the judges. “Synlait’s win tonight was a close-run thing. All of the entries displayed true leadership, excellence of practice and innovation of the sort that put New Zealand on the global map as an international leader in agricultural practice.”

Winners receive a $15,000 travel award to study farming practice overseas, and are assisted to host a field day on their property to profile their business.


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