Opunake teacher and farmer named Woman of the Year

A Taranaki primary school teacher and passionate environmentalist has been named the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

Trish Rankin was announced as the winner of the prestigious dairy award at the Allflex Dairy Women’s Network’s conference gala awards dinner in Christchurch on Wednesday.

The award was presented by Fonterra’s Managing Director of Co-operative Affairs Mike Cronin.

He praised the South Taranaki farmer for her passion for the environment, her focus on sustainable farming and her community leadership.

Rankin balances teaching part time at Opunake Primary School with her farm work in South Taranaki with her husband Glen and their four boys.

She says she is both a farm assistant and CEO of their farming business, having learnt over the years to milk, drive tractors, feed stock and do fences – as well as sort the Health and Safety and human resources out.

A passionate environmentalist, she has undertaken the Kellogg Leadership Programme this year with the main purpose being a research project focused on how a circular economy model can be developed on a New Zealand dairy farm.

Judge and Dairy Women’s Network Trustee described Gibb as impressive.

“What impressed the judges was Rankin’s self-awareness, her preparedness to grow and focus her make-it-happen attitude towards problem solving environmental issues,” Gibb said.

An active Dairy Enviro Leader (DEL) and member of the NZ DEL network Rankin is also Chair of the Taranaki DEL group. In 2018 she was elected onto the National Executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and last year was selected as a NZ Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change.

As Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Rankin receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional business development programme, sponsored by Fonterra.