Feds honour those who excel in primary sector
Federated Farmers has unveiled six winners in its inaugural National Conference Awards.
The awards celebrate excellence in agriculture and the contributions made by Federated Farmers’ members to further
enhance the primary industry.
Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said those nominated had gone above the call of duty, putting in
significant time and energy to serve and advance the entire primary industry.
Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group Chairperson John Hartnell MNZM from Canterbury was awarded the Outstanding
Contribution to Federated Farmers for his unrivalled commitment to the Federation and the bee industry.
"In a career which spans more than 40 years, John has been an integral part in uniting the bee industry, he’s been the
honey sticking the industry together," said Dr Rolleston.
"John was also on the front line in the aftermath of the devastating Christchurch Earthquake, leading the "Farmy Army",
for which he received a New Zealand Order of Merit.
For his significance to primary sector education, Manawatu-Rangitikei Provincial President James Stewart took out the
Farming Message Award.
"James is a special kind of farmer. His practical and hands-on approach to the community and farming has seen him become
a trusted commentator with media.
"He’s built a high-tech shed on his Manawatu farm where up to 30 people can watch an entire milking operation and learn
"Leading from the front, he’s well respected by local and central government for his ability to champion human, physical
and economic factors which can help his region unlock its growth potential.
A twenty year Federated Farmers veteran Neil Heather was also recognised for his 'can-do, no-nonsense attitude' to
farming in the Rotorua-Taupo region.
Taking out the Outstanding Advocacy Award, Neil has developed a positive and collaborative reputation as an influencer
and leader with farmers and local councils alike.
"Neil is a tireless advocate for farmers. He makes sure farming has a voice especially when it comes to council policy,
regulation and rates," said Dr Rolleston.
"He’s led the charge for farmers against the proposed rates hikes in Rotorua, literally saving our members thousands of
"Neil is a smart operator who has even asked to assist the Environment Court with mediations, bridging the gap between
governance and farming."
"Neil’s commitment, passion for farming and sense of community means he’s a real asset to the region."
Taking out the Emerging Advocate award, Federated Farmers’ North Canterbury Meat & Fibre Chair, Dan Hodgen is a passionate about sheep and beef farming, making sure Feds is visible in the North
"Dan is a keen supporter of many community events, and ‘leads the charge’ on drought issues in the region, holding
various drought committees roles and represents farmers in media.
"As an expert in land and water management, Dan has worked to bring the Hurunui dryland farmers together to ensure their
united view was heard.
"Dan rolls up his sleeves, working tirelessly behind the scenes getting feed and grazing options out to farmers and
recently co-led a project to send 100 North Canterbury farmers up to National Fieldays for two days," Dr Rolleston said.
Chris Wall has served the Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei province for more than 41 years and was presented the
Provincial Service Award.
"Chris is highly respected and influential person in the community and was at the forefront of the amalgamation of the
Federated Farmers Manawatu and Rangitikei provinces," Dr Rolleston said.
"His unreserved loyalty to the Feds over many years is a true example of the collective strength Federated Farmers
"Chris’ work to help farming families in difficulties and under stress, has meant he has not only helped farming
business survive, but has saved lives," said Dr Rolleston.
The Federated Farmers Wanganui province took out the Membership Growth Award with the new provincial president Harry
Matthews accepting it on behalf of the province.