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Wiggins wins Agricultural Communicator of the Year

Rural personality and farming advocate Craig “Wiggy” Wiggins was last night announced as the 35th winner of the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year award.

The award recognises and honours individuals and groups that have made important contributions to the agricultural community, by using their skills to effectively communicate issues, events and information that are relevant to the sector.

Wiggins is a passionate farmer, horse trainer, commentator, announcer, and MC based near Ashburton.

In recent years, he had become famous in rural communities for “Whatever with Wiggy,” a weekly Zoom forum for farmers to engage with industry leaders and politicians to discuss issues of importance to the agricultural community.

Wiggins was a leading organiser and facilitator of the Agri Connect rural mental health seminar, which taught attendees the tell-tale signs of mental strain and where to direct farmers for help.

Jackie Harrigan, President of the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators said Wiggins was a deserving winner because he had facilitated much-needed discussions within the agricultural sector — much of it in a voluntary capacity — and kept political and industry leaders appraised of the mood on-farm.

“Craig's passion and advocacy for New Zealand's agricultural communities has engaged and connected farmers, industry leaders, politicians, NGOs and the public,” Harrigan said.

“Whatever with Wiggy has been an invaluable communication platform for members of the agricultural community, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions when many were feeling isolated and overworked.”

Wiggins played an important role in promoting farming and agribusiness as a viable career pathway for the next generation.

In November 2020, he organised and hosted an online Careers Day and invited every high school to attend.

Wiggins spent the day interviewing rural professionals and leaders about their roles and why the sector was a good career choice for students entering the workforce.

Former winner Lain Jager summed up the judging panel's thoughts.

“Craig has a broader industry mission and his role as a volunteer must be commended.”

Presenting the award was Ravensdown's general manager customer relationships Bryan Inch, who praised Wiggins' ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

“Craig's easy-going style appeals to people right across the sector and his positive energy shows that it is possible to thrive in a changing landscape.

“His work has allowed farmers and rural people to keep up with new farm and freshwater regulations, ask hard questions of their representatives and champion rural mental health.”

Wiggins was thrilled with the award, which was presented at Mystery Creek.

“I think it is just great that Ravensdown support awards like this. My family deserves all the credit for putting up with me and all my travel.”

— NZ Herald

DESERVING WINNER: Craig 'Wiggy' Wiggins has been awarded the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year award. Lately, he had become famous in rural communities for 'Whatever with Wiggy,' a weekly Zoom forum for farmers to engage with industry leaders and politicians to discuss issues of importance to the agricultural communityPicture supplied