Tuesday, 25 June 2024 10:23

Tracy Brown to take over as DairyNZ chair

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
In October, Waikato farmer Tracy Brown will become DairyNZ's first female board chair. In October, Waikato farmer Tracy Brown will become DairyNZ's first female board chair.

Waikato farmer Tracy Brown will become DairyNZ’s first woman board chair in October.

Brown, who milks 700 cows with husband Wynn near Matamata, has been elected chair-elect of the industry-good body.

Current chair Jim van der Poel has announced that he will step down at DairyNZ’s annual meeting in October. Deputy chair Jacqueline Rowarth will also step down, opening two new positions for farmer-elected directors on the board.

Brown says van der Poel has delivered decades of dedication to the dairy sector that is unmatched across New Zealand.

“The backdrop of his influential tenure includes the Mycoplasma bovis biosecurity incursion, the highs and lows of the milk price, and an upswing in environmental regulation – all while he has advocated for and achieved a more positive future for dairy farmers.

“Time and time again Jim proved his fortitude as a leader in dairy for New Zealand and I look forward to learning all I can over the next four months as he hands over the reins. 

“On behalf of the DairyNZ Board we thank Jim for his unswerving commitment, which ensures we’re able to continue to make progress with confidence,” Brown says.

DairyNZ has a governing board of eight members – five directors are elected by farmers and three are independent and appointed by the board.

Van der Pel has been chair of DairyNZ since 2017, following his election to the board in 2013. He served as a farmer-elected director on the inaugural board in 2007-2009, then again from 2013. Prior to this, he was appointed to the foundation board of DairyNZ’s predecessor Dexcel in 2000, becoming chair in 2003.

During his third reappointment as chair in October last year, van der Poel said he would remain to support the transition of new chief executive Campbell Parker, the development of DairyNZ’s new strategy, and see through the change of Government.

“DairyNZ is in good health and it’s time to pass the baton to the next generation,” van der Poel says.

“I have confidence in the depth of the board, the direction of the new chief executive and strategy, and am happy to be handing over duties to Tracy in an orderly way over the next few months.

“In less than a year, Campbell Parker has set a new strategic direction which rightly refocuses the organisation on the future, science and research, and profitability. 

“The dairy industry has been good to me, and it’s been my privilege to give back,” he says.

Rowarth has served DairyNZ for six years and was a leading force behind establishing an independent Science Advisory Panel to provide expert advice on research for the future. 

“Jacqueline was always a powerful advocate for farmers at the boardroom table," van der Poel says.

“I’d like to personally acknowledge Jacqueline’s commitment to the DairyNZ Board and the value she delivered in collecting farmer insights from across the country."

Rowarth says she also sees the future of the board is in the next generation of keen and enthusiastic farmers, working with the excellent independent directors of the board.

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