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Southlander in running for Dairy Woman of the Year

For immediate release

13 April 2017

Southland dairy consultant in the running for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

A Southland woman who only milked her first cow seven years ago is one of three finalists in the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Jolene Germann grew up on a Waikato sheep and beef farm and had no dairy experience until meeting her husband, Hadleigh, seven years ago. Now, she’s a busy dairy consultant with a full book and is an equity partner and sharemilker on a 200ha, 570 cow dairy farm in Aparima, Southland.

Germann’s husband nominated her for the Dairy Woman of the Year award and says her commitment to environmental sustainability and empathetic leadership style are her stand-out qualities.

“On our farm and within business she is always striving for continuous improvement and environmental sustainability,” he says.

“She recently connected with a dairy farming couple who were in a situation where they thought their only option was to leave the dairy industry.

“However, with Jo’s help they were able to exit their bad situation and find a new position for the next season and have rediscovered their passion for the dairy industry.”

Germann established the Mid-Aparima Catchment in Southland to bring farmers and other stakeholders together within the community to work towards shared environmental goals. She is a dairy farm mentor for DairyNZ’s DairyConnect programme and helps students who have difficulties with their assignments as a PrimaryITO mentor.

She is chair of the Southland Rural Business Network which provides high level speakers and networking opportunities to its members, and she recently completed the Kellogg’s Rural Leadership Programme with a project which focused on leadership in the environmental space. She’s now a member of the regional dairy environmental leaders’ group and her project findings were published nationally.

Germann also has a PhD from the University of Waikato which focused on the biochemistry of the clover root weevil.

Germann says she aims to do as much “industry good” work as possible in all that she does. “As a lower order sharemilker and farm owner we are constantly striving to improve our farming businesses,” she says.

“I also have a particular focus on developing our staff, and my volunteer roles all focus on what I think is the most important part of the dairy sector – people. By developing our people, I am confident I’m adding value to the dairy sector.”

She says if she were to win the award it would allow her to continue to develop as a mentor to help others more effectively.

“My next focus is to further develop my governance skills to influence change in the sector. Too often I see examples of poor governance holding back dairying businesses.

“I believe great governance is important in our rural sector from family farming through to our largest companies.”

The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year will be named at an awards evening on 11 May during Dairy Women’s Network’s conference in Queenstown. The winner will receive a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.

The other 2017 finalists are Jessie Chan-Dorman, a Fonterra Shareholders Councillor and Ashburton Trading Society Director from Canterbury, and Claire Nicholson, CEO of Sirona Animal Health and a director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) from Tauranga.

For more about Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, head online:


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