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Zanda McDonald Award 2024 winners crowned at 10-year milestone event

Sheep Central, March 19, 2024
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Tessa Chartres and Nancy Crawshaw

 TWO exceptional young women have been crowned as the 2024 winners of the coveted trans-Tasman agricultural award, the Zanda McDonald Award, at a special 10-year celebration evening.

Australian Tessa Chartres and New Zealander Nancy Crawshaw have taken out the top honours with the award that recognises and supports future leaders in the primary sector.

 Australian winner Tessa Chartres, 32, based in Deniliquin New South Wales is the general manager of business development at Murray Irrigation where she is responsible for the delivery of Commonwealth-funded projects, water policy, ICT transformation and commercial business contracts.

New Zealander Nancy Crawshaw, 27, is an extension officer for Angus Australia based in New Zealand. She utilises knowledge of the beef supply chain to facilitate engaging field days, youth programs and workshops for primary producers which adds value to their businesses.

The Zanda McDonald Award provides an opportunity to accelerate the careers of young people in agriculture, and in turn, help to shape a better future for the trans-Tasman agricultural industry. This is achieved by providing unparalleled opportunities for growth, mentorship, and education, an award statement said. 

 Chartres and Crawshaw were initially named as finalists alongside Caitlin McConnel, 33, agribusiness lawyer at Clayton Utz, chair of the Future Farmer Network and farmer based in South East Queensland; Nick Dunsdon, 33, manager of Coban Pastoral Co and rural property agent at GDL based in Cunnamulla, south-west Queensland; Carla Muller, 31, agricultural economist and principal consultant for Perrin Ag and former president of NZIPIM, based in Whakatane; and Tim Dangen, 31, beef farmer in Muriwai, West Auckland, and 2022 recipient of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Award.

Award chairman Shane McManaway said the judges were extremely impressed with Chartres’ and Crawshaw’s achievements to date, and the remarkable contributions they’re already making to the agricultural landscape.

 “They both embrace the values that hold true to the award, and are extremely worthy recipients.

“Tessa is smart, driven and collaborative, finding solutions to complex challenges that effect the whole food and fibre supply chain,” he said.

“She strives for a balance between agriculture, the environment and her community, and is passionate about their well-being, and considerate of all stakeholders impacted by water regulation.”

Mr McManaway said Nancy is thoughtful and sincere, and has an in-depth knowledge of the industry from pasture to production.

“She has a wide network across the trans-Tasman, and is passionate about the industry.

“Her strong interest in the Angus breed is evident through her actions, and she has a clear pathway on how she plans to deliver impact to the industry.” 

Reflecting on the award having reached its 10th year, McManaway paid tribute to the supporters who have contributed to its enduring success. 

“We are fortunate to have an amazing network of 15 partners and over 250 mentors who are the lifeblood of this award, providing their time, knowledge and financial support.

“It is this combined support that underpins our unmatched mentoring program and enables us to help propel the next generation in agriculture to new heights.”

 As part of the prize package, Chartres and Crawshaw each receive an impressive personal development package, including a fully personalised mentoring trip in both countries, $10,000 worth of tailored education or further training, media coaching and ongoing networking opportunities. Finalists also get rewarded, becoming part of the award alumni, and receiving ongoing access to mentoring, networking opportunities and support. The winners were announced at the annual Impact Summit in Queenstown, during a special celebratory evening with industry leaders, alumni and award partners.

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