2016 Award Winner
Dean Rabbidge, a sheep, beef and dairy farmer from Wyndham, Southland was the winner of the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award. Dean is married to Sarah, and together they have three young children; Ted, Ida and Ray.
Rabbidge is passionate about his agricultural responsibilities – not least running the family farm – and found the award a superb opportunity to talk through any challenges with some of the most knowledgeable producers in the business.
“Just knowing that I can contact any one of the PPP Group to talk through issues gives me a great sense of comfort. I now have a strong support network that will help me unleash my potential, as well as that of my business, realise my ambition of encouraging more young people into agriculture, and help me to promote a positive perception of agriculture across urban areas” he said.
The 32-year old Southland farmer has already crammed much into his life but he is not ready to relax, intent not only on improving and growing his business but defending what he views as a bad rap that farming is receiving from some quarters.
Rabbidge’s CV includes placing third in the 2014 Grand Final of the Young Farmer of the Year and fifth in 2013. He is now chairman of the National Young Farmers Contest, involved in Federated Farmers, is a member of the Wyndham A&P Association and former member of the Wyndham Community Board. He also recently become a trustee and founding member of the "Three Rivers Catchment" group, established to engage with all sectors of society and educate around the management of fresh water.
In addition, Rabbidge has overseen the conversion to dairy and the day-to-day management of 72ha on his family’s Wyndham farm, run in conjunction with a sheep and beef business that has grown to 571Ha.
He took the opportunity with the award to study farm succession, business growth and business structure, which he found invaluable. Dean and Sarah have recently purchased the property off the family - a process that was assisted with the advice and experiences of PPP members.
Community involvement is a real passion for Rabbidge, and although he's now hung up the boots, he's still an avid supporter of the Wyndham Division 1 Rugby Team.