A collaboration that will reduce emissions and accelerate green hydrogen infrastructure, a company that has taken our honey to the world and an initiative to boost farmer mental wellbeing by taking them surfing have been recognised by their primary industry peers.
Food and fibre sector achievers were recognised at the 2021 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards dinner at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch on Tuesday night, with seven winners named from 65 nominations.
A favourite with many of the more than 500 farmers, growers, foresters and fishers present was the winner of the Team Award, sponsored by BASF. Steven Thompson from Bayley’s Rural Real Estate started helping farmers get out on the ocean waves as a way to leave the stress of their busy roles behind them for a few hours. Surfing for Farmers now boasts a team of 50 volunteers and has spread to 16 regions, with nearly 3000 farmers taking part.
“For most farmers it is their first time on a surf-board. Steven says when farmers come out of the water, it’s like a reset for them,” judges noted.
The Norwood-sponsored Innovation and Collaboration Award went to Ballance Agri Nutrients and Hiringa Energy. Their $65 million investment will see construction of four wind turbines nearly as tall as Auckland’s Sky Tower. This wind generation together with hydrogen energy will replace use of natural gas to produce urea at Ballance’s Kapuni site.
As judges noted, this will not only accelerate implementation of green hydrogen infrastructure in New Zealand but use of low-emission fertiliser will help build on our reputation for producing low-emissions food.
It was a sweet night for the True Honey Company, named winner of the Primary Industries Producer Award, sponsored by Kotahi. Judges said True Honey has taken the highest grade New Zealand manuka honey to the world’s most exclusive markets.
“From having hives in dense manuka serviced by helicopter, to world class processing for a quality driven highly discerning marketplace the company has taken a natural New Zealand product to international recognition and acclaim.”
Malcolm Bailey, Frances Clement and Emma Bose were all recognised for their leadership.
Malcolm Bailey (Outstanding Contribution to the Primary Industries, sponsored by Massey Ferguson) was described by judges as “the complete package as a primary industry leader”.
He re-organised Federated Farmers from a bunch of tribes to a single, effective voice. He was on the Fonterra Share holder Council and on the Board of Fonterra. He was our special trade envoy over a period of international trade disruption and he currently chairs the Red Meat Profit Partnership and the NZ Dairy Companies Association.
NZ Pork’s Policy & Issues Manager Frances Clement took out the Primary Industries Champion Award, sponsored by Federated Farmers, to recognise a genuine ‘good bugger’ who has championed their rural community and their industry.
“Frances stood out for her 25-year commitment to the New Zealand Pork Industry, making significant improvements across the board for our country’s pig farmers and, as a result, New Zealand in general,” judges said.
Emma Boase for Horticulture New Zealand won the Emerging Leaders Award, sponsored by Lincoln University, particularly for her efforts attracting new talent to the sector.
The Science and Research Award, sponsored by Yashili, went to Professor Jon Hickford, Dr Huitong Zhou and Freeman Fang. The judges said they were most impressed with the holistic approach of the Lincoln University team to bring a highly professional genetic approach to the business of farming.
“Their genetic program was impressive as was their relationship with farmers. This guaranteed a practical result from a highly specialised scientific process.”
In the Innovation and Collaboration category, judges gave special recognition for outstanding cultural collaboration to the Tōtara Industry Pilot – Scion, a two-year feasibility project was to test the business case for a new regional industry based on the sustainable management of regenerating forests of Tōtara in Northland.