Rural women have stepped forward to take leadership positions in the last three to four years, says Rebecca Keoghan, 2018 Rural Woman of Influence.
Dairy Womens Network trustees Pamela Storey and Tracy Brown are contesting the Women of Influence award in the rural category.
Storey, an electrical engineer, has been in governance in the Energy Management Association of NZ, Waikato Environmental Centre, the Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership and most recently Primary ITO.
Brown, formerly an economist, chairs the Dairy Environment Leaders Programme and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Alumni. She is involved in the dairy industry’s strategy refresh and the dairy environment leadership group which oversees the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord initiative.
DWN chair Cathy Brown says the two ambassadors for dairy women are “humble, lead from the heart and have a roll-up-their-sleeves attitude”.
“They give a lot of time to the rural sector and are doing amazing things in environmental sustainability.
“These nominations recognise the hard work dairy women put into the industry -- often behind the scenes and not immediately recognisable.”
Storey says it’s “empowering to see dairy women being profiled at this level”.
And Tracy Brown sees this as “an opportunity to show an urban audience the meaningful work -- most of it voluntary -- women in the rural sector do so well”.
Storey and her husband own and run a 500 cow farm in Te Hoe, in North Waikato, with her husband. They breed high BW animals and have a flexible approach to farming systems to suit changes in the economy.
Tracy Brown and her husband own a 700 cow farm, ‘Tiroroa’, near Matamata. They won the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment award in 2010.
Cathy Brown says DWN members are more involved in farm management and operation than when she joined in 2009, when it had 2500 members.
“Now it’s closer to 10,000 and we’re catering… to dairy women in the business side of farming. As the business of dairy becomes more complex, our members are [learning] how to run a farming business in today’s economic, environmental and compliance-driven climate.”
The Westpac Women of Influence Awards will be announced on September 7 at a dinner at SkyCity, Auckland.