North Island farmer Karen Forlong is the new chair of the Dairy Women's Network.

Forlong has been a member since the network was formed in 2000, and will take over the role of chair from Cathy Brown.

"I really appreciate what a great privilege it is to find myself in this position now. I'm a really inclusive person, and something I've learnt from our previous chair Cathy and hold very dear is the fact that the gold is always in the room" Forlong said in a statement.

Farming near Atiamuri for 25 years, Forlong's experience with the Dairy Women's Network included conference committee involvement in 2005 and 2012, to becoming Conference Chair in 2014.


Listen to Andy Thompson and Rowena Duncum interview Karen Forlong on The Country:

She has also participated in the Agri-Women's Development Trust Escalator Programme, a leadership and governance initiative for women involved in primary industries and rural communities.

Forlong is also chair of Vetora BOP, an incorporated society vet club with a 75 year history in the Rotorua region.

Belonging to the Dairy Women's Network has been an empowering experience, Forlong told The Country.

"For the past 20 years ... DWN has allowed me to grow, has allowed me the opportunity to connect with other dairy farmers, other agri-sectors, to step outside the farmgate. It's given me knowledge. It's given me courage".

Forlong said she was keen to pass on that empowerment to the next generation of farmers through her new role at the Dairy Women's Network.

"You'll find me in there sleeves rolled up and gumboots on raring to go".

"It's time to give back".