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Westland congratulates 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 March 2015

Westland congratulates 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Katie Milne

Westland Milk Products is delighted that West Coast dairy farming stalwart Katie Milne has won the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

Westland’s Board Chairman Matt O’Regan says the award is fitting recognition for Milne’s passionate dedication to dairying on the West Coast and, through her work with Federated Farmers, as a national advocate for the industry.

“Katie has been a shareholder supplier of Westland Milk Products for more than 20 years,” O’Regan says. “In that time her advocacy for the dairy industry has hugely benefited the Coast, especially in terms of the incredible amount of work she has put into TB prevention and infection control. TB is still a serious issue on the West Coast, with some 35 of the South Island’s 58 infected herds located here. But compare that to a decade ago when there were 253 infected herds in the region.”

The Dairy Woman of the Year award celebrates women who are making a difference in the dairy industry, in their dairying businesses and in their communities. It recognises those who have significantly contributed to the dairy industry through passion, drive, innovation and leadership.

Katie and her partner Ian Whitmore are dairy farmers in Rotomanu where they run 200 Jersey cows on 125 hectares. Their farm has been in the Whitmore family for more than 90 years with Ian and Katie purchasing it in 1992. Katie has been provincial president of Federated Farmers on the West Coast since 2009; is the West Coast Chair of Tb Free and previously a member of the West Coast Focus Farm advisory board. She has also been a management group chairperson for Sustainable Farming in the Lake Brunner Catchment Project, which works with local authorities, the Department of Conservation and the community to help manage, protect and improve the water quality of the West Coast’s largest lake.

She was elected to the national board of Federated Farmers in June 2009, becoming only the second woman onto the board. She sits on the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, advising the Minister for Primary Industries and is in the Farmer Mental Wellness Strategy Group, partnering with stakeholders on improving farmer wellbeing. She is also Federated Farmers’ adverse events spokesperson.

“Katie is a ‘feet-on-the-ground’ Coaster,” O’Regan says, “who has managed to build influential connections with national decision makers. She has a practical but compelling approach that commands attention, and she has made a significant contribution to ensuring that farming has a sustainable future in New Zealand.”


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