Roma beef producer Janet Reddan will carry the hopes of Queensland after being named one of seven finalists in the prestigious agribusiness badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.
The trans-Tasman award, now in its fourth year, recognises agriculture's most innovative young professionals.
A record number of nominations were received this year and four New Zealand and three Australian finalists have been selected for their strong leadership skills, passion for agriculture, and their vision and inspiration for the primary industry.
The trio of Australian candidates are Elise Bowen, 27 owner/operator of Sheep Data Management in Wagga Wagga, Byron O’Keefe, 33, owner/operator of livestock business O’Keefe Pastoral Company and 2016 Landmark/ALEC Young Achiever, and Janet Reddan, 33, former agronomist now cattle producer from Roma, Queensland.
The Kiwi finalists are Thomas MacDonald, 24, Business Manager of Spring Sheep Milk Company in Waikato and Sir Don Llewellyn scholar, Lisa Kendall, 25, owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd and vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club, Ashley Waterworth 34, who manages and co-owns the family sheep and beef farm in Waikato, and Hamish Clarke, 27, third generation farm manager in the Northern King Country.
The seven were named following a review from a panel of eight judges.
Interviews for the seven shortlisted applicants will take place in Auckland later this month, where the judging panel will reduce the group down to a list of three finalists.
Shane McManaway, award judge and chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) – the Australasian networking group behind the award – says the judging panel were all really impressed with the calibre of applicants for this years’ award.
"We’ve been blown away by many of the people that applied, and particularly by these seven candidates. Each one demonstrates natural leadership ability, and has the type of traits we’re looking for, including passion and understanding, ambition and a desire to improve the industry.
“Zanda McDonald was one of life’s true inspirations. This award is a tribute to him and to the enormous contribution he made to agri-business. It’s also an opportunity for us to help the next tier of young agri leaders. This includes a tailored mentoring programme for the winner as part of the $50,000 prize package.”
The three finalists will be announced towards the end of the year, and will be invited to attend the PPP Conference in Taupo in March 2018. The winner will be announced at the event.
Queensland Country Life has contacted Ms Reddan for an extended interview.