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Ground Spreaders Celebrate Award Winners

The winners and runners up of the 2020 New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association (NZGFA) awards were congratulated by Executive Officer, Melanie Dingle, on their contributions to the ground spreading industry at the association’s recent online AGM.

Ted Usmar, head of engineering at Waikato-based Wealleans Ltd, was awarded the Trucks & Trailers sponsored Innovation Award for his long-term commitment to continuous improvement to technical efficiency and driver safety. During his 30 year career, Ted has created engineering solutions that ensure spreader trucks work as efficiently as possible while offering the best safety features for operators. From making small tweaks to full re-designs, Ted’s foresight and innovation is recognised in New Zealand as well as overseas.

Nathan Callander, of Callander Groundspread, an enthusiastic and talented ambassador for the industry who has the mechanical aptitude to solve complex spreader truck issues through clever engineering design, was named the runner-up for this award.

Phil Johnson, driver trainer at Canterbury Driver Training Ltd, scooped the Graymont-sponsored Health & Safety Award. Phil was commended for his diligence in developing thorough training programmes that create competent and qualified ground spreader operators, who are highly proficienct in the area of health and safety. Phil regularly reviews his training modules in his quest to provide the best quality health and safety training for the industry.

The runner up for this award was Jessie Freer, of Taranaki-based the Sandford Group. Jessie was praised for successfully updating old systems and implementing new health and safety procedures across 10 sites, 140 staff and 100 trucks.

The Ravensdown-sponsored Young Achiever’s Award, a category for aspiring under 35s, was presented to Matthew Blomfield (age 22) of Transport Services Southland Ltd. Matthew, a natural communicator, was recognised for his respect of the environment as well as his passion for farming and his profession, and his ability to engage effectively with his customers. Matthew’s advocacy for ground spreading has led him to attend careers events and youth groups, where he has been transparent about his love of agriculture and his job and encouraging of others to join the industry.

Jared Usmar, operations manager for Wealleans Groundspread, was chosen as the runner up for this award, based on his competency and his commitment to training new recruits as well as to testing new innovations.

Grant Anderson, of Transport Services Southland Ltd, was pronounced the winner of the prestigious President’s Award, sponsored by Ballance Agri-Nutrients. Grant, who is a vice-president of the NZGFA as well as its dedicated health and safety representative was congratulated on his leadership and mentoring skills as well as his advocacy for the industry standard, Spreadmark. Grant’s commitment to growing the industry professionally, while augmenting health and safety practices, in particular, incident reporting was also recognised.

Marty Crafar, formerly of Safe Business Solutions Ltd, was named as the runner up in this category. Marty was applauded for his commitment to guiding ground spreader operators through business challenges, providing ideas, hands-on advice and resources across human resources, health and safety, management and auditing.

The AGM, hosted via Zoom, also saw John Schultz of Mainland Groundspreading, remain as President. John was unchallenged, alongside vice-presidents Grant Anderson and Graeme Martin, and is delighted to represent the membership for another term.

Note to Editors: The NZGFA was established in 1956 to promote and protect the interests of both individuals and companies involved in the groundspread fertiliser industry. The organisation promotes the Spreadmark programme and encourages its members to be Spreadmark-accredited. Spreadmark is a quality assurance programme that guarantees accurate fertiliser distribution by trained operators using certified spreading machinery and a management system that puts economic and environmental farmer/grower outcomes first.

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