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environment

Big wins for Co-op farmers at NZ Dairy Industry Awards

  • May 13, 2019
  • 3 min read

Taranaki farmers Damian and Jane Roper were announced as the winners of the 2019 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Awards on May 11, receiving the newly created John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

The prestigious award recognises dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

2019 RDA winners - Damian & Jane Roper


From restoring bush on their property to its former natural state to creating a lake and monitoring the water quality, the Ropers impressed the panel of judges with their commitment and passion.

The John Wilson Memorial trophy was presented by Belinda Wilson, wife of the late John Wilson, and Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell.

Miles says, as a successful farmer, John was keenly aware of the need for, and benefits of, farming in a sustainable and responsible way.

John was a hugely respected leader of our Co-op and the wider industry, and the driving force behind this award. Its establishment was his idea so it’s only fitting that the trophy be named in his honour and memory

Miles Hurrell, Fonterra CEO

The award was presented at the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in Wellington, with Co-op suppliers picking up two other main prizes - Colin and Isabella Beazley from Northland were announced as the New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year while Canterbury's Nicola Blowey won the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year title.

The Beazleys are 50/50 sharemilkers for Neil Jones and Wendy Crow-Jones, milking 330 cows on the 163ha Wellsford property.

The couple have entered the Awards twice previously and were third placegetters last year in the same category.

2019 NZDIA National Share Farmer of the Year - Colin and Isabella Beazley

2019 NZDIA National Dairy Trainee of the Year - Nicola Blowey

Colin and Isabella demonstrated strengths in pasture management, leadership, environment and health and safety. The couple also impressed the judges with their use of social media to ‘spread the good word about dairy farming’.

Co-op suppliers claimed the other podium places in the Share Farmer category. Tokoroa contract milkers Marc and Nia Jones were the runners-up with Manawatu sharemilkers Thomas and Jemima Bebbington third.

The judges described the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year Nicola Blowey as a confident, mature and compelling young woman.

Nicola is employed by Matthew and Vanessa Greenwood as an Assistant Herd Manager on Kieran and Leonie Guiney’s 600-cow, 175ha Fairlie property.

Nicola led a clean sweep for Co-op suppliers in the Trainee category with Matt Dawson second and Harry Phipps third.

Matt is Assistant Manager for Neville Henderson on his 229ha, 620-cow property at Horsham Downs while Harry is Herd Manager for Gary and Kathy O’Donnell, milking 400 cows on the 140ha Rotorua farm.