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Applications open August 1 - 31 2023 for the 2024 Award. 

About the Award.

If you are making a difference in agriculture, are passionate about what you’re doing, and are keen to further develop your skills, you should apply for the Zanda McDonald Award. This is an award that recognises determined and passionate young Kiwis and Aussies, and it could help take your career in agriculture to the next level, faster than you could possibly imagine.


Who was Zanda McDonald?

Zanda McDonald was a prominent identity in the Australian beef and livestock industry and was proud to be a farmer who worked tirelessly to encourage young people to work in the industry that he loved. He died in April 2013 at the age of 41, following a tragic accident on his Queensland cattle property.


Zanda was a founding member of a trans-Tasman agricultural networking group, which was formed in 2005 and comprised a handful of like-minded farmers who came together to spin yarns and solve a few industry problems. As part of his role in the group, Zanda led a number of initiatives to promote his industry to the next generation. 

In 2014, in honour of Zanda, the networking group led by Shane McManaway launched The Zanda McDonald Award.

The group, now known as the Zanda Mentoring Group (ZMG), has evolved into a collective of over 150 of Australasia's top rural leaders. This impressive network of top industry mentors throughout Australasia is accessible to award finalists and winners.


The Award recognises young people working in the primary industry sectors in New Zealand and Australia and supports their future career development. 

The Prize.

The prize package is significant and provides the winner with opportunities that money just can’t buy.  This is an impressive personal development package that puts the winner in the passenger seat with some of the biggest and best agriculture operators in Australasia.  

The winner will be awarded:

  • The Zanda McDonald Award trophy and certificate.

  • A fully personalised mentoring trip across both Australia and New Zealand, spending time with leaders and mentors across all areas of the primary sector. This trip is 100% tailored to the Award recipient's desired areas of interest and growth.

  • All travel and accommodation expenses for the mentoring trip, including flights on a private jet, ensuring access to remote and varied locations in style and comfort!

  • A personalised education or training package, up to the value of $10,000*.

  • A tailored media training session.

  • A one year position on the Zanda McDonald Award Advisory Group. This includes being a judge of the following year's Award.

* The aim is to provide the award recipient with further education that is in line with their future development and personal growth. Therefore, the education and/or training package is not restricted to a set list of options but is subject to mutual agreement by the award recipient and the judging panel (and subject to acceptance into the desired training/course). Up to $10,000 AU is available to put towards these costs, including all travel and accommodation expenses. Any costs exceeding $10,000 will be at the winners' own expense.

Who Can Apply?

The award is open to individuals aged 21 - 35 years old who are residents and living in either Australia or New Zealand working in agribusiness.

Applicants must not be related to any person involved in the award scheme. Applicants must read, understand and agree to the terms and conditions associated with entering this award.

When Can I Apply?

Applications for the Award are open each year from 1 - 31 August (close at 5pm NZ time, no late applications accepted).

Should I Apply?

Past finalists and winners of the award have come from a variety of agricultural backgrounds: vets, cattle station managers, livestock consultants, beef, sheep, and/or dairy farmers, and self-employed agri-entrepreneurs.  Applicants (and past finalists and winners) have also included those who've worked in the agribusiness corporate sector, such as Fonterra, Pamu Farms, Baker Ag in NZ; LambPro, QLD Depart. of Agriculture in Australia, 


Regardless of where they all work and live, what all of our finalists and winners share is the drive to succeed, to make a difference within their industry and to make the most of the opportunities presented to them along the way. If this sounds like you, then why not take the leap and apply?

Applicants must display a passion and a desire to improve their industry. The award winner must be prepared to represent the Zanda McDonald Award as an ambassador during their term. For example, they may be invited to represent the award at industry events, field days, or industry conferences.

Our Vision for Finalists and Winners:


Learn. Network. Experience. Grow.


  • Learn – from successful leaders and peers

  • Network - with the best in trans-Tasman agriculture

  • Experience – first-hand through a tailored mentoring programme

  • Grow – your capabilities, for personal and professional development

Key Dates - for the 2023 Award

•    Applications are open and are online from 1st August until 31st August each year (close at 5pm NZ time, no late entries)

•    Finalists will be announced on 21st September

•    Finalists interviews to be held on October 25th in Sydney, Australia and on November 22nd in Martinborough, New Zealand

•    Award winners will be announced at the Impact Summit, 14th - 16th March 2023, in Brisbane

For any questions about the application or the award process, please contact


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