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Grassroots leadership of dairying women to be recognised

The Dairy Women’s Network is calling for nominations from the around the country for its annual Dairy Community Leadership Award which recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women play in leading their communities, and sharing their time and skills beyond the boundaries of their own farm gates.

The winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship from Milk Bar, the specialists in calf rearing equipment, to attend a leadership programme of their choice within New Zealand.

Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board chair Michelle Wilson said nominations were welcomed from rural community members, employers, employees or partners, however nominees are required to be members of the Dairy Women’s Network.

Last year’s winners were Sue Forsyth from Te Awamutu and Sharron Davie-Martin from Culverden. Mrs Davie-Martin is using her scholarship to attend the Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme in 2015.

Among other things, Mrs Davie-Martin was nominated for her commitment to the Dairy Women’s Network and role as chairperson of the local Rural Women’s Dinner Group, which she still holds today.

While there’s not much she isn’t involved in, she is particularly passionate about helping immigrant dairy farm workers settle well into the North Canterbury community, and has developed a welcome pack that is used by dairy farmers employing overseas workers.

Her voluntary work in this area has also been recognised and used by the New Zealand Immigration Department.

Mrs Davie-Martin said receiving the community leadership award last year was an inspiration to continue developing her skills. She is now also close to completing the Taratahi Generate Leadership programme and recently won another scholarship to attend the Rural Women’s Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington.

“Dairy farming has served our family well and we think it’s important to give back to our community. It’s pretty simple for us – we just really enjoy helping people and it’s just a real pleasure to immerse ourselves in our community,” said Mrs Davie-Martin.

Michelle Wilson said the Network has been acknowledging community leadership since 2007. Until 2011, the award was known as Celebrate You.

“Rural communities continue to flourish and rural people are supported because of the commitment of people like Sharron who so often take the lead in driving the many activities that happen outside their own farm gate for the benefit of the wider community.”

Milk Bar said it was incredibly proud to be the new sponsor of the award which recognises the important role dairy farming women play in their family, business and community.

Sales and marketing manager Anna McIntyre said Milk Bar was thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to rural women and their communities.

“The role of women in farming is so important. They juggle managing their businesses, working on the farm and raising families.”

Nominations for the Dairy Leadership Community Award must be made on the official form which can be obtained from the Dairy Women’s Network website or by phoning 0800 396 748. Nominations close at 5pm, 1 March 2014. The winner will be announced at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference on 19 March in Hamilton.


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