Applications are open for prestigious 2023 Zanda McDonald Award

Young agricultural professionals with passion and drive are being encouraged to apply for the most coveted prize of its kind in Australasian agribusiness.

The Zanda McDonald Award, open to Australian and New Zealand residents aged 21-35 working in agribusiness, provides unrivalled development opportunities for personal and professional growth. One winner will be chosen from each country, with the successful recipients receiving a fully personalised education, training and mentoring package across both Australia and New Zealand, spending time with leaders across all areas of the primary sector.

“This award recognises and celebrates determined and passionate young Kiwis and Aussies with strong leadership skills, and the programme provides winners with opportunities that money simply cannot buy,” says Zanda McDonald Award chair Richard Rains.

“They will get face-to-face with some of the biggest and most successful agricultural operators in Australasia, to really elevate their thinking, and take their career in agriculture forward faster than they could imagine. Our previous winners have told us that the award is life-changing, through the ability to learn from successful leaders and peers, network, and experience things first-hand as part of their mentoring programme. If you are making a difference in agriculture, are passionate about what you are doing and are keen to further develop your skills, then we strongly encourage you to apply.”

The programme is completely tailored to the recipient, designed to meet their desired areas of interest and growth. All travel and accommodation costs will be covered, including flights by private plane to access remote and varied locations.

The 2022 Zanda McDonald recipients were: Rhys Roberts, from Westerfield, Mid Canterbury, CEO of Align Group, which operates eight farms and a market garden, and Charlie Perry, who manages his family-owned and operated wagyu beef farm at Gurya in Northern New South Wales.

Rhys said “An overwhelming highlight of winning the award is the mentoring trip. I’ve already drawn a huge amount of inspiration from the people I’ve spent time with, and I still have the Australian part of the trip to go. I just can’t recommend the award highly enough.”

Charlie said “Winning this award has opened the doors to a wealth of knowledge and opportunity for me. I’m so thankful I applied. I’ve already met some amazing people, and am expanding my horizons in more ways than I thought was possible.”

The award is now in its ninth year. It was launched in 2014 in memory of Australian cattle industry leader Zanda McDonald, who passed away following a tragic accident at his Queensland farm in 2013. The award programme reflects his values and passionate commitment to excellence in the agricultural industry and to promoting it to the next generation.

Applications open on Monday 1 August 2022 and close on Wednesday 31 August 2022 at 5pm NZ time. Late entries will not be accepted.

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