Entries for 2020 Zanda McDonald award to close August 31

Posted in Articles on Aug 22, 2020


Shannon Speight (nee Landmark) and Emma Black with Julie McDonald (centre). The award is named in honour of Julie's late husband, Zanda McDonald.

Time is running out to apply for the prestigious 2020 Zanda McDonald Award with entries closing on August 31.

The Zanda McDonald Award has been running for the past six years and seeks to highlight talented and passionate young individuals working in the agricultural sector.

The award provides the winner with an impressive personal development package that includes an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip, $2000 cash, and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group.

Some travel takes place in a privately chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, enabling the winner to reach diverse and remote farming operations.

Zanda McDonald Award chairman Richard Rains said the award was widely seen as a career and life-changing experience, that could really help take them to the next level.

"We've been lucky to discover some inspiring young people since the award began, with quite diverse backgrounds," Mr Rains said.

"But the one thing they all have in common is a real passion for the industry, and a hunger to make a difference. I'm really excited to see who will be uncovered this year.

"The prize is quite something, but even if you don't win, there are still some wonderful opportunities if you make it into the top three, so I'd encourage anyone considering it to throw their hat in the ring."

Mr Rains said he had been particularly excited to see how the award had helped previous winners to launch their careers.

Shannon Speight (nee Landmark) and Emma Black won the Zanda McDonald Award in 2019 and 2015 respectively.

While working separately across the northern beef industry, the pair identified a growing need for a practical solution to ingest raw production data and quickly turn it in to key insights that producers could use to make informed decisions.

They have recently launched their own business, Black Box Co, a new cloud based data collection service they hope could help establish genomic beef predictions and improve on-farm productivity.

"The Zanda McDonald Award brought us together and provided us a platform to unite our ideas with a strong industry backing. This is how Black Box Co began," they said.

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