With over 1500 members it’s hard to believe that only 5 years ago New Zealand Young Farmers had a membership of just 450 people. A membership increase of 25% in 2010 alone has created the need for a greater support base for NZYF members.
Previously NZYF Club members were supported by two Rural Development Officers; one in the North and one in the South. That number has now doubled with the appointment of three new Field Officers and previous South Island RDO, Duncan Trotter, moving into the role of Extension Manager and Tasman Field Officer.
Duncan, based in Christchurch, has been with NZYF for four years, a member for 12, and is looking forward to passing knowledge on and supervising the new Field Officers while giving more support to Club members.
“By doubling our staff we double the time and effort we are able to put into supporting our members by forging strong relationships with those that make this organisation tick. It also gives us more time to promote NZYF and increase membership.”
Joining Duncan is Lou Thwaites as the Lower South Field Officer, who will bring a lot of experience to the new role, having been previously employed as the NZYF Coordinator.
Lou is looking forward to helping out with an area she knows well: originally from Tuatapere she now lives in Hinds where, in her spare time, she helps partner Jamie out with the contracting business he’s involved in.
“I’m really keen on promoting the opportunities for Professional Development, within the rural professions, and growing Club and individual membership by getting the NZYF message out there.”
Amanda Murray, based in Waipukurau, starts as Lower North Field Officer this week and brings with her a strong rural background, having grown up on a sheep and beef property in Marlborough, and has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University. Brand new to NZYF; Amanda is excited about learning more about the organisation and its members.
“I’m looking forward to not only working alongside our members but also helping out with The National Bank Young Farmer Contest, especially because the Grand Final is in Masterton this year, and of course to support the next generation of farmers through the new TeenAg programme too.”
Rounding off the new team is Casey Huffstutler; based in Te Awamutu where she is a member of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade. Casey has not only made the move from the automotive industry but also from Southland to become the Upper North Field Officer.
Casey has been heavily involved with NZYF as a member for two years, former vice chair of the Otago/Southland region and was on the organising committee for The National Bank Young Farmer Contest Grand Final and the NZYF Conference in Gore last year.
“I can’t wait to use my current knowledge out in the field and I am really keen to let young rural people know what a fantastic opportunity it is to be part of an organisation that offers so much; everything from Personal Development, friendship, leadership opportunities and more.”