Two on Dairy Women's board

Robyn Judd
Robyn Judd
Robyn Judd has been a member of the Dairy Women's Network since its inception, saying she was ''hooked from day one''.

Mrs Judd, from North Otago, and Maree Crowley-Hughes, from Thornbury, in Southland, have been appointed to the board of the Dairy Women's Network.

The Dairy Women's Network was established in 1998 by New Zealand dairying women following the second International Conference for Women in Agriculture held in Washington DC. The aim was to develop and educate women and add value to the business of dairying.

Originally from the Waikato, Mrs Judd moved south with her husband Ian and their family in 2001. They live on their 145ha run-off in the Waitaki Valley, where they 50/50 sharemilk 700 cows for Meridian Energy.

In 2005, Mrs Judd was instrumental in establishing the network's North Otago-South Canterbury regional group. She is still regional convener for the area, although she was looking for somebody to take over the role.

She oversaw the couple's farming operations in human resources, bookwork and finances, animal health records and calf-rearing. In the community, she has been involved in committees at all levels in playcentre, schools and sports teams.

Describing herself as ''truly grassroots'', she had a strong belief in the core values of the Dairy Women's Network and its work.

''When you're a dairy family moving into a new area leaving your extended family behind, the network is invaluable because the women you meet know exactly what you're going through. It's about the people, getting local advice and sharing knowledge.

''It's that moment when you're in the shed in the early hours of the morning, and you see a light on across the valley - to know you're not alone and there's someone out there going through the same thing as you.''

She was honoured to have a voice on the board ''for people like me''.

''I'm an everybody - a mother, a volunteer and a dairy farmer who is absolutely passionate about this industry. I'm on the board to encourage women like myself in their leadership journeys - to help them aim for things like the dairy woman of the year award, to challenge themselves and to be inspired,'' she said.

Mrs Crowley-Hughes and her husband Peter Hughes own seven farms in Southland and Otago which collectively milk 5000 cows and in total produce more than 2 million kg of milk solids per year.

The mother-of-five is a director of five businesses and has been a member of the Dairy Women's Network since 1998.

In 2011, she won the Dairy Women's Network Celebrate You award. The award was presented annually to women active within the network who demonstrated leadership, overcame challenges and took up training and other opportunities to help them climb their own ladder of success.

The Dairy Women's Network annual conference will be held in Nelson in March.

Keynote speakers include Olympic rowing gold medallist Mahe Drysdale and Wanganui eco-tourism operator Dan Steele.