The chief executive of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle, is the winner of the 2016 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year award.
Presented at a breakfast event in Hamilton this morning, the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists administered award, now in its thirtieth year had been judged by an independent panel of 10 judges from across the sector. Nominations are made by Guild members.
The judges selected Mackle because of his track record of excellent communication, which has enabled him to provide an extraordinary level of leadership for the dairy sector. This has been particularly evident over the past 12 months when the dairy industry has faced a difficult period in the media with low milk prices, issues with animal welfare and environmental standards.
“He has spoken out, challenged opinions and, most importantly, used his position to educate and change views of the sector. His has been a prevailing voice for his industry and he has been regularly featured on television news and in daily regional and national publications,” the judges said.
“His reach has extended beyond rural publications to mainstream media, the general public and decision makers. Hailing from farming roots, Tim is able to build rapport with farmers and relate to their communities. His communications are regular and he is a visible face for the industry, giving him mana and prestige as a communicator.”
Mackle’s career has taken him through various roles and he continues to look to the next generation, working with DairyNZ to increase the number of graduates entering the dairy industry.
He was both awed and humbled by the honour, saying, “I was just doing my job.”
Mackle received the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year trophy plus a cash prize of $2,500 – part of a funding package of nearly $6,000 from Landcorp in sponsorship for the Guild. He has generously donated the cash prize to the Rural Support Trust to assist its work with people and families in the rural community when times are tough on the farm.
The thirtieth anniversary of the relationship between the Guild and Landcorp was also marked with the presentation by Guild president Ali Spencer of a handsomely carved model of a waka prow to Landcorp chairman Traci Houpapa.
Spencer expressed the Guild’s grateful thanks to Landcorp. “We are very proud to have had this close association with this country’s biggest farmer over such a long period,” she remarked.
Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, the award is also the most valuable prize the Guild offers.