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Award Winning Manager Eyeing an OE

Award Winning Manager Looking To Gain Overseas Experience

Heading overseas to gain international farming experience is the next aim for Robert Short and Alison Rae after winning Hauraki-Piako's RD1 Farm Manager Award category of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards.

Mr Short and partner Ms Rae won $2000 in prizes at a function in Matamata last night. They will now go on to compete against six others for the national farm manager title in Hamilton on June 27, which recognises emerging talent in the industry and offers $5000 in prizes.

The couple currently manage the Waharoa property of Steve and Trish Atkinson, and have been in the position for eight months after previously working as herd managers on the same property since 1998.

The 78ha farm runs a herd of 300 cows, and is aiming to produce 100,000 kilograms of milksolids this season.

Mr Short has risen to the position of farm manager after starting his career in the dairy industry in 1996. He has progressed through the ranks of farm assistant and herd manager to eventually farm manager. Now he and Ms Rae are now looking to Europe to further their experience.

They are leaving New Zealand at the end of the current season and are hoping to secure work on an Irish farm.

Their plan is to return home after seven months and enter a sharemilking agreement with their current employers.

They hope this will help increase their knowledge, and lead them towards owning their own herd in five years.

"I believe I have good employers and this is why I have continued to work for them," Mr Short says.

"I believe that if your employers are going forward in the dairy industry then they must have a good work ethic and management skills, and therefore they can be passed on to you."

The farm manager award has been introduced to the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards - which have the support of Dexcel and are sponsored by Fonterra, Westpac, Holden, Pioneer, Ravensdown, RD1, DTS, Livestock Improvement, and Fegan and Co - to recognise the important role farm managers play in the industry.

It is anticipated that those who do well in this award will be sought after for dairy farming employment opportunities.

The awards are being held in seven regions, with the winner of each region progressing to the national final in Hamilton. Tickets to any of the regional finals can be purchased by telephoning 0800 273 759 or online at , where more information on the awards is available.

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