First woman at the top in 118 years

South Waikato News - - Farming - GER­ARD HUTCHING

West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne is the first woman in Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ 118-year his­tory to hold the na­tional pres­i­dency.

She de­scribed the el­e­va­tion as ‘‘pretty stun­ning, show­ing the Feds is a good pro­gres­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion that is will­ing to move with the times and take peo­ple with the right skills to go for­ward’’.

Milne suc­ceeds Dr Wil­liam Rolle­ston who steps aside after his three-year ten­ure.

A pre­vi­ous fed­er­a­tion board mem­ber and West Coast provin­cial pres­i­dent, Milne was Dairy Woman of the Year in 2015 and is a di­rec­tor of West­land Milk prod­ucts.

With part­ner Ian Whit­more, she runs a 200-jer­sey-cow 125ha farm in the high rain­fall-zone of Ro­tomanu. It re­ceives an av­er­age of 3.5 me­tres of rain a year, and even more in an El Nino year.

Milne said she was never to­tally con­fi­dent she would suc­ceed in the vote against vi­cepres­i­dent An­ders Cro­foot, but felt she had a chance.

‘‘My strengths are the way I

‘‘My strengths are the way I can con­nect with peo­ple.’’ Katie Milne

can con­nect with peo­ple, I’m able to ar­tic­u­late in a clear way to peo­ple who don’t nec­es­sar­ily know any­thing about farm­ing in a way they can ac­tu­ally ‘get it’.

‘‘That’s a valu­able as­set at the mo­ment as we come up to elec­tion, we’ve got plenty of pot shots go­ing at farm­ers and to help coun­ter­act that with some real farmer talk will be use­ful.’’

Manawatu dairy farmer An­drew Hog­gard was elected na­tional vice pres­i­dent while South Can­ter­bury farmer Miles An­der­son takes over as na­tional Meat and Fi­bre chair­man with Rick Pow­drell step­ping aside.

Waikato farmer Chris Lewis takes over as the fed­er­a­tion’s na­tional chair­man for the dairy sec­tor, suc­ceed­ing Hog­gard.

Lewis said the dairy sec­tion was work­ing on a new dairy strat­egy, which would be re­leased in Oc­to­ber.

An­i­mal wel­fare would also be an is­sue with calv­ing due to be­gin shortly.

‘‘There will be an in­creased spot­light on that again I sus­pect, but hope­fully for the right rea­sons, show­ing that farm­ers are do­ing a great job.’’

Dairy farm­ing and its ef­fect on the en­vi­ron­ment and wa­ter qual­ity also looked to be hot topic for the com­ing elec­tion.

Katie Milne, the newly voted na­tional pres­i­dent of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers on her Ro­tomanu, West Coast farm.

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