2023 Australasian agri-business award winners announced

Two future leaders in agriculture have been crowned as the 2023 winners of Australasia’s coveted agricultural award, the Zanda McDonald Award. New Zealander Harriet Bremner, 33, and Australian Mitch Highett, 33, have taken out top honours with the award that recognises and supports exceptional young professionals in the primary sector.

The announcement took place at the Zanda McDonald Award Celebration evening in Brisbane on Wednesday 15th March, as part of the Awards’ inaugural two-day Impact Summit. The Summit is a new initiative bringing together industry leaders, previous award finalists and winners to connect, elevate thought, and inspire positive changes, both personally and professionally.

Te Mania Angus were delighted to be part of the 2023 inaugural Zanda McDonald Award Impact Summit, as key sponsors. One of our Directors, Tom Gubbins, joined the impressive panel of inspiring and thought provoking speakers at the Summit.

The week began for us with a gathering at The Young Achievers Muster.  With over 30 past and present finalists and winners of the coveted Zanda McDonald Award, gathering to workshop negotiation skills, understanding challenges and exploring possibilities, led by Amanda Roughan, Evolve AGRi and Sticks and Stones Media.

Zanda Summit

The two day Summit then kicked off the next day with outstanding speakers from both sides of the Tasman.

Some of the highlights include the remarkable Jake Bailey from NZ who shared his journey of “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”.  The powerful impact of resilience and perspective.

Howard Parry – Husbands showed us how “knowledge is power” – discovering the difference between consumer perception and reality, backed by research into the latest global trend data.

Our Director Tom Gubbins was part of a panel discussion focusing on mixing traditional farming with cutting edge technologies and highlighted Te Mania’s focus on a dedicated approach to objective measurements and performance recording. Chaired by Mark Ferguson, the panel included Chad Taylor, Mumblebone Merino, Tom and Dawson Bradford, Ultrawhite.  Another panel chaired by former Zanda Award winner Rozzie O’Reilly, included Tom Bull Lambpro, Thomas Macdonald, Spring Creek and Charlie Perry, Trent Bridge Wagyu on “Meeting the consumer expectations/demand”.

Other highlights included Barry Irvin from Bega who received a standing ovation for his presentation on a personal insight in his leadership story, vision for a circular economy, his work with Giant Steps and the importance of social responsibility.

The shape of the economy was explored with Senior Economist from Westpac, Jarek Kowcza, Rob McGavin shared his story on Cobram Estate Olive Oil’s incredible growth and we even performed the “Nutbush” with Ginny Stevens, founder of Active Farmers.  We learned about the advances in virtual fencing, facial recognition of sheep and how to drive change through understanding values and personal responsibility from Julia Jones, Chair of Meat the Need and Head of Insight from the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Barry Irvin, Luke Evans & Tom Gubbins.
Barry Irvin, Luke Evans & Tom Gubbins.

At the gala dinner on Wednesday night, the 2023 winners of the Zanda McDonald award were announced with Mitch Highett (Aus) and Harriet Bremner (NZ) taking out the awards for their respective countries.

Special thanks to Richard Rains, Charlie de Fegely and the whole Award team who made the summit such a great success.

For more information visit zandamcdonaldaward.com

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