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2023 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award Winners Lead Change Through Innovation

Cameron Henderson from Oxford in Canterbury/North Otago was named the 2023 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winner during the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Gala dinner on Saturday night and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

“All finalists were constantly looking to improve and were never done, but Cameron wasn’t afraid to pull back if something didn’t work,’ says head judge Melissa Slattery.

“He was always looking to incrementally make gains in reducing his environmental footprint, including N leaching measurement, dung beetles, compost and planting shelter for his animals.”

The judges noted Cameron’s engineering background and inquisitive nature, together with strong networks, generated innovative on-farm solutions to every day challenges.

“Cameron has strong attention-to-detail skills and is very data-driven,” says judge Michael Heard from Fonterra.

“He looks at the whole farm, and doesn’t just do something because it’s good for the environment, he also considers what’s the impact on the bottom line.”

Fellow judge Connal Buchanan, agrees. “He has a very comprehensive approach and has a clear focus on drivers of his business.”

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The judges were impressed by Cameron’s extensive leadership roles and community involvement in a number of local and national projects and organisations.

“Cameron is essentially spending more time involved with community projects than farming,” notes Michael.

“He’s built his business to give him the flexibility to really get involved in the numerous environmental projects he is passionate about, including being a founder and trustee of the Waimakariri Landcare Trust, a member of the ECan Regional Water committee and various roles on the Dairy Environment Leaders group.”

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