Year of The Farmer 2023


In January this year, Otago Daily Times business and rural editor Sally Rae wrote an opinion piece suggesting the need for a celebration of New Zealand’s food producing champions.

It came after the New Year’s Honours list was published and, while not taking anything away from those fine individuals whose contribution to the betterment of society who were recognised, there was a lack of acknowledgement for those in the primary sector — the engine room of the economy.

It questioned where the plaudits were for those who spent their days doing their best to create an environmentally and economically sustainable future for the primary industries.

And it suggested that pride must be restored in being a farmer, otherwise there would be no incentive for the next generation — or even some of the current generation — to farm the land.

The article triggered an outpouring of support for farmers and growers, from both rural and urban folk and from all walks of life. In response, the teams at the Otago Daily Times and Rural Life have come together to officially make 2023 the Year of the Farmer.

The aim is simple; to acknowledge the contribution of farmers and the importance of the primary sector to the national economy and to salute those food-producing heroes.

Year of the Farmer will showcase the work of farmers to create an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future, while also making a positive contribution to their rural community.

To celebrate the initiative, we are on the hunt for an outstanding South Island farmer or grower who ticks all those boxes, to be awarded Year of the Farmer 2023.

Rural communities and groups are asked for nominations for their rural champions; people who make their community a better place to live while sustainably contributing to the New Zealand economy.


Nominate online at or visit the ODT stand at the Wanaka A&P show to complete a nomination form and learn more.