A CHB dairy consultant has been named one of three finalists in the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Rachel Baker, from Ashley Clinton, also the executive chairwoman of the NZ Dairy Industry Awards, is up against Tararua district mayor Tracey Collis, and Southland dairy leadership coach Loshni Manikam for the coveted dairy award, which will be announced during the Dairy Women's Network's conference in Rotorua on Thursday, March 22.

Mrs Baker grew up in Central Hawke's Bay, and farms at Ashley Clinton with her husband Rowan and their three children. The couple won the Manawatu Sharemilker of the Year title in 2009, and progressed to large scale sharemilking in CHB before purchasing a dairy support unit in 2017.

"My husband Rowan and I are farming in Ashley Clinton on a dairy support block we purchased last year and for the five years prior to that we were 50 per cent sharemilking 850 cows, also in Ashley Clinton."

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However, she reckoned her role as executive chairwoman of the NZ Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) was a "key reason" for her being nominated for Dairy Woman of the Year.

"It is a real honour to be acknowledged by my peers in the dairy industry.

"I lead a team of eight members to develop and oversee delivery of our awards programme in 11 regions, which are managed by a small management team and a volunteer base in the hundreds," she said.

NZDIA general manager Chris Keeping said it is no surprise that Rachel was named as a finalist.

"We consistently see the passion and enthusiasm Rachel has for the New Zealand dairy industry. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is always willing to share that with others, to help them on their journey within the industry."

Dairy Women's Network CEO Zelda de Villiers said the three finalists highlighted the wide scope of skills and expertise evident among women in our dairy industry.

"The role of women in this industry is unique and un-paralleled, and we're proud to recognise and celebrate their success," says de Villiers. "The skills and experience Rachel, Tracey and Loshni bring to the dairy industry range from local government and leadership development through to board and governance expertise.

"These women show an unwavering commitment to progressing the dairy industry internationally, yet still retain their links and involvement at a grass roots level in their home regions and communities."

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The winner receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.