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Southland Sharemilkers Take Supreme Title

Southland Sharemilkers Take Supreme Title

Southland Sharemilkers Wayne (38) and Elaine (36) Cook from Otahuti were tonight named 2006 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, one of the most highly respected accolades in the dairy industry.

The Cooks won a first prize package valued at $35,000 including a Honda TRX 500 FA ATV, from a total prize pool of more than $65,000.

The Cooks are 50:50 sharemilkers, milking 750 cows on a 287 hectare property owned by Peter and Maralyn (TICK) Erb.

Wayne, who comes from a sheep and beef background, and Elaine who grew up on a dairy farm, have been sharemilking for 10 years. It is their sixth year in Southland.

They believe their direction, their commitment and ability to achieve identified goals contributed to their success.

“We have long-term goals and have identified how to reach them. Short-term goals have also been set and achieved,” Elaine Cook says.

The couple’s farming goals are to achieve 320,000kg/ms at a cost of $1.43kg/ms and to make their dairy unit non-reliant on the sharemilking business.

The Cooks also won the Dairy InSight Interview Award and the Bank of New Zealand Financial Management Award.

Runners up were Keiran and Leonie Guiney from Canterbury who milk 680 cows on a 190 hectare farm on Rangitata Island owned by the Rangitata Island Partnership. Third place went to Richard and Amanda Jones representing the Auckland/Hauraki Region.

The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year has been running for 17 years and recognises the determination, work ethic and goal setting abilities demonstrated by this country’s unique agricultural icon: the sharemilker, said Alison Watters, chairman of the Sharemilker of the Year management committee.

The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition is owned by Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and is sponsored by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement and Ravensdown.

“Sharemilkers who succeed in this event do so because they excel in a wide range of skills, from pasture management, through caring for their dairy environment, their animals’ welfare, their financial management, to their contribution to the communities in which they live and work. The title New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year goes to people who not only work for the success of themselves and their families; they also represent the best of a great industry and give back as much as they receive,” Mrs Watters said.

“I am sure Wayne and Elaine will be excellent ambassadors for the industry. I am confident that all of our finalists here tonight will also return to their regions to give back to Sharemilkers everywhere, based on what they have gained from this wonderful experience.”

Other national merit awards went to:

ACC Thinksafe Sharemilker Award: Dave and Barbara Hands, from Rangitikei/Manawatu/Horowhenua
Ecolab Dairy Environment Award: Peter and Vanessa Wilcox, from Waikato
Federated Farmers Leadership Award: Dave and Barbara Hands
LIC Herd Records Award: Dave and Barbara Hands
Ravensdown Pasture Management Award: Richard and Amanda Jones from Auckland/Hauraki.

ends

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