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Irrigation champions share 2014 Ron Cocks Memorial Award

Irrigation champions share 2014 Ron Cocks Memorial Award

For the first time ever, IrrigationNZ has awarded its Ron Cocks Memorial Award to two individuals at its national conference.

Retired MAF Policy Manager Grant McFadden and farm business consultant and rural valuer Bob Engelbrecht were jointly awarded the prestigious title at last night’s IrrigationNZ conference dinner in Napier.

McFadden from Christchurch and Ashburton-based Engelbrecht have together more than a century of involvement in advocating for agriculture and irrigation interests, said IrrigationNZ chairman John Donkers who presented the awards.

Grant McFadden began his career as a farm advisor with MAF in the mid 1960s and was a key support for farmers in the Lower Waitaki as they initiated their irrigation scheme in the 1970s. From the early 80s, McFadden worked with farmers going through deregulation and drought experiences and later moved into MAF Policy “as I realised there were opportunities in the policy area to make a real difference to people.”

In 1988, he was handed responsibility for running the country’s 38 irrigation schemes and preparing them for sale to farmers when the Ministry of Works was closed. Later on he managed many research contracts which looked at the sustainability and economics of irrigation. McFadden was also involved in the early days of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) as an initial instigator of funding through MAF and as a Steering Group Member.

Bob Engelbrecht has been one of the pre-eminent farm business consultants in Canterbury for nearly five decades. He was a founding member of the New Zealand Irrigation Association in 1978, its inaugural secretary until 1986, and went onto become chairman, secretary, treasurer and newsletter editor of the association when it was reformed in 2001 after a hiatus.

During his career Engelbrecht helped found farm management consultancy Engelbrecht, Royds, Smith and Tavendale and was involved in many other consulting partnerships. His contributions to agribusiness have been recognised through a series of awards from Lincoln University, the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management and the New Zealand Property Institute.

IrrigationNZ is the national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry. Its mission is to promote excellence in irrigation throughout New Zealand.

ENDS

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