The inaugural winners of a new award in the national Dairy Industry Award competition aim to take a view to the future into consideration when making all of their dairying decisions.
Edward ‘Wynn’ and Tracy Brown were awarded the first ever New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award at the national final in Invercargill last month.
The couple own a 320ha 700-cow farm near Matamata, with a further 30ha leased from their neighbour. Their property bears the name ‘Tiroroa’, which means ‘extensive view’ or ‘view to the future’.
“Our aim is to run an economically and environmentally sustainable dairy farming business maximising production while minimising footprint,” say the couple. “We like to take the meaning of Tiroroa into consideration with all our decision-making.”
The Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award recognises dairy farmers who are demonstrating leadership in their approach to dairying, have proven results and are respected by their farming peers and their community. They are future-focused while also being proactive with addressing the opportunities and challenges of today.
The farmer could come from any of New Zealand’s milk suppliers to be eligible for the award.
Wynn and Tracy are considered leaders within the dairy industry, in all areas of sustainability, business and farm management, as well as in the way they give back to the industry and community.
NZDIA executive chair Rachel Baker says the Browns encompass all of the criteria through their vision, guiding principles and actions.
“Responsible Dairying is a way of conducting a farm business where actions and results demonstrate responsibility and sustainability.
“The management and performance of people, farming system, finances, animal care and ecosystem are all important pillars of Responsible Dairying – and Wynn and Tracey demonstrate these through their actions on a daily basis,” says Rachel.
The Browns have proven results in leading and managing their teams, with three Share Farmer of the Year finalists from the past two years coming from their farm.
Make dairying ‘sexy’
“We lead by example,” says the couple. “We are passionate about industry and are involved with lots of different aspects of it and encourage our staff to do the same.
“We usually employ people for two or three seasons and help them progress to the next position,” say the couple. “We need to make dairying ‘sexy’ and attractive as an industry, and attract good, smart people. Avoiding burn-out and ensuring staff are well-connected and supported will aid retention of good people within the dairy industry.”
The couple aim to enhance, contribute, add value and give back to their community and are involved in various ways, with Wynn the deputy chair for the Piako Catchment Farmer Engagement Group and a LIC Shareholders councilor while Tracy is chair of the DairyNZ Dairy Environment Leaders Forum, a trustee of Dairy Women’s Network, a farmer rep for the Dairy Environment Leadership Group and a member of the Dairy Industry Strategy ‘Dairy Tomorrow’ Working Group.
The couple believe t they are only caretakers of the land for future generations and want to leave it in better condition than when they took it on. “We want to leave a legacy,” they say.
“Sustainable farming is about ‘walking the walk’ not just ‘talking the talk’, it’s about what you do when no-one is looking,’ say the Browns.
“It’s also about not just living for the here and now, but about thinking for the future and those that will come after you.”