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Finalists of Consultant of the Year Awards announced


For immediate release

9 July 2014

Finalists of Consultant of the Year Awards announced

The judges have deliberated and the finalists have been selected for this year’s annual Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Today Farmax announced the finalists for the DairyNZ Dairy Consultant of the Year, Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year, and NZIPIM Emerging Rural Professional of the Year.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said it was great to see such a high standard of talent and skills amongst the nominations.

“The customer feedback about each of the nominees was positive and clearly shows an appreciation of the invaluable services that rural professionals provide farmers with,” said Mr McEwen.

“The decisions on the finalists came down to the wire – it was very close all round!”

The finalists are:

NZIPIM Emerging Rural Professional of the Year Finalists

Hannah Best – Abron, Hawkes Bay/East Coast

Hannah’s nomination said: “Hannah will always go the extra mile for her clients and often is in contact with them in her own time to make sure the fertiliser programme she has put in place with the clients is followed well and is producing the results that were planned. In my 35 years working in farm management and advisory roles, I have never met a more capable and caring young consultant.”

Ellie Meadows – Baker & Associates Wairarapa Ltd, Masterton

Ellie’s nomination said: “[Ellie] has really developed a good reputation for herself and is considered the national expert on assisted lambing systems. She has shown great leadership and facilitation skills in being in charge of a client’s demonstration farm. [She’s] definitely a future leader for our industry!”

Sophie Stanley – Figured on Farm, Auckland

Sophie’s nomination said: “Sophie is an agri-tech rockstar, knows the power of the cloud and has taken the opportunity to position herself at the forefront of this technology shift for the rural sector. True passion for agribusiness - impressive!”

Erica van Reenen – Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Wellington

Erica’s nomination said: “In her new role as Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Environmental Extension Manager, the challenges that she faces are only outweighed by the work that she puts in and the determination and vision that she has for a better New Zealand, and a more productive and environmentally aware sheep and beef sector.”

DairyNZ Dairy Consultant of the Year Finalists

Chris Lewis – Baker & Associates Wairarapa Ltd, Masterton

Chris’ nomination said: “The New Zealand agriculture industry is only just starting to appreciate the value gained by benchmarking where Chris has been promoting it for years – a true visionary and leader of the industry.”

Paul Martin – Self-employed and affiliated with Intelact, Whangarei

Paul’s nomination said: “We have been clients of Paul's for the last nine years and can confidently say he is the best value for money our business has. We could not be pushing the boundaries like we do, while maintaining a minimal social and environmental footprint, without him.”

Lee Matheson – Perrin Ag Consultants, Rotorua

Lee’s nomination said: “He has a very high level of integrity in everything he does. His knowledge of the farming sector and dairying in particular is outstanding, but he is always open to learning more and listening to his clients to ensure the best outcome.”

Chris Pyke – Intelact, Hamilton

Chris’ nomination said: “Chris Pyke is an exceptional ambassador for rural professionals in the farming industry. Chris is a vet, consult, business advisor, trusted confidant and much more. Chris' commitment to his clients’ farming businesses is unwavering, and his broad knowledge base and ability to communicate scientific information in a practical and useable way to these clients is extremely valuable.”

Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year Finalists

Wayne Allan – Allan Agricultural Consulting Ltd, Christchurch

Wayne’s nomination said: “Wayne is very focused on driving your business forward, in a direction you are comfortable with. He has a strong focus on what you as a client want to do and provides very strong support, analysis and direction to help you achieve your farming goals.”

Sully Alsop – Baker & Associates Wairarapa Ltd, Masterton

Sully’s nomination said: “Sully demonstrates great all round consulting skills. He exhibits an incredible knowledge of the Farmax software and combines this with other technology tools (e.g. Cashmanager) to provide logical, practical advice. He is very adept at matching potential outcomes to the capability of both the land and the farmer. He has made such a difference in our business over and above the call of duty.”

Brendan Brier – Brier Ag Consultancy, Hamilton

Brendan’s nomination said: “Brendan is always looking at options to maximise on farm production without compromising the environment. [He] sets out clear plans to maximise farm profitability. [His] practical background combined with academic skills provide positive outcomes for farmer clients.”

John Stantiall – Stantiall and Partners, Feilding

John’s nomination said: “John provides us with an excellent service and sound advice. John's advice is always carefully considered, well researched and practically able to be applied.”

A $20,000 award prize pool for the three categories includes a paid overseas study trip, contribution towards professional development and funds to take paid hours off work to complete a project or initiative that will benefit the pastoral farming industry.

The winners will be selected by the judging panel later this month, who represent each of the awards sponsors and include: Craig McBeth, DairyNZ regional team manager; representing NZX Agri, Hamish Bielski, farmer and equity manager; representing NZIPIM, Graham Parker, ANZ agri retail manager; Richard Wakelin, Beef + Lamb New Zealand general manager – farm; David Hayes, Ministry for Primary Industries director of preparedness and partnership; and Gavin McEwen, Farmax general manager.

Nominations are still open for a fourth award, the new NZX Agri Farmers’ Choice Award that enables farmers to recognise a consultant who does an exceptional job for their peers, the community and the industry. Farmers can vote online.

The winners of each category will be announced at the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM) conference awards dinner in Hamilton on 4 August.

Mr McEwen said the Consultant of the Year Awards were developed last year to recognise the expertise and value agricultural consultants and rural professionals provide to the New Zealand pastoral farming industry, which often goes unnoticed.


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