The chief executive of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle, is the winner of the 2016 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. Pictured below right receiving his award from Landcorp chair Traci Houpapa at the breakfast function in Hamilton.
The judges noted that in his time as DairyNZ CEO, Tim’s excellence as a communicator has enabled him to provide an extraordinary level of leadership for the dairy sector. This has been particularly evident over the last 12 months when the 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 regularly featured on television news and in daily regional and national publications."
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.
His 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.
This is the 30th year the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year title has been awarded, a lengthy period of time for two organisations to maintain such an important relationship. The award is administered by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, and recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues, events or information.
Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, it is also the most valuable prize the Guild offers. Landcorp provides a prize of $2,500 for the winner, which this year is part of a funding package of nearly $6,000 in sponsorship for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs, including the Awards function. Guild President Ali Spencer expressed the guild's grateful thanks to Landcorp for its support and involvement in this award for 30 years and took the opportunity to mark the occasion by presenting Traci with a handsomely carved waka prow (left).
"It is a remarkable relationship to have survived this long,” she said.
She says Tim is held in very high regard among farmers around the country.
“Tim speaks out on matters concerning legislation, on farm practice, farmer capability and economics. He stands out in an industry with many spokespeople, his communication is meaningful, providing advice and empathy to those being challenged by tough economic times.
“In the past year he successfully defended the industry’s reputation in management of bobbie calves, sparked industry discussion on the pastoral basis of dairy farming as an export advantage, has overseen improvement in the industry’s action on water quality, and given the public insight to the personal challenges faced by farmers in tough economic times.”
Tim is generously gifting the prize money that goes with this award, $2,500, to the Rural Support Trust where it will be put to good use. The Rural Support Trust is a charitable organisation to work with people and families in the rural community when times are tough on the farm. This may be through events - climatic, financial or personal - and the local trusts will help farming families meet and overcome these challenges.