For the country’s two largest milk processors, it’s business as usual: milk is coming in, being processed and products shipped to offshore markets without any major hitch.
Rankin was presented with the award by Fonterra’s managing director of cooperative affairs Mike Cronin at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in Christchurch last night.
“It was my absolute pleasure to present Trish with the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award,” says Cronin.
“Her passion for the environment, sustainable farming and community leadership represent the finest qualities of our cooperative. I would also like to congratulate the other finalists for their dedication and commitment to our co-op and the wider industry.”
Rankin balances teaching part time at Opunake Primary School and being on farm full time in South Taranaki with her husband Glen and their four boys. The family sharemilks 450 cows on a Parininihi ki Waitotara owned property in Kaupokonui.
Rankin says she is both a farm assistant and CEO of their farming business, having learnt over the years to milk, drive tractors, feed stock and fix fences as well as sort out the Health and Safety and human resources side of the farming business.
A passionate environmentalist, Trish is chair of the Taranaki Dairy Enviro Leader (DEL) group and member of the NZ DEL network.
In 2018 she was elected onto the national executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and last year was selected as a Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change.
Rankin says her role as one of those Ambassadors is where she thinks she can make the biggest difference to the industry.
“In terms of on-farm emissions I don’t think farmers need to be worried about what the Government is going to do, but they do need to be prepared because there are going to be changes that are needed. Whether you are meat or milk or any other form of agriculture there’s an appetite from everyone around the world for farmers to operate in a much better, smarter and environmentally friendly way. The good news is that there’s lots of research, information and advice becoming available to help farmers do that.”
Dairy Women's Network Trustee and head of the awards judging panel Alison Gibb said what impressed the judges was Rankin’s self-awareness, her preparedness to grow and focusing her ‘make it happen’ attitude towards solving environmental issues.
As Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Rankin receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional business development programme, sponsored by Fonterra.
The other finalists were also co-op farmers - current Shareholders Councillors Julie Pirie and Emma Hammond and former Shareholders Councillor Kylie Leonard.