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Prison Farm Chases The Diary Excellence Title

10 March, 2005
For immediate release

PRISON FARM CHASES THE DIARY EXCELLENCE TITLE

Any dairy farmer struggling with their paperwork could spare a thought for Ted Stone.

Principal instructor at Waikeria Prison Farm, Ted says the twin requirements of prison service paperwork and farm documentation make managing the 314 hectare, 1320 cow dairy unit "a major record-keeping exercise."

Ted is one of a record 13 entrants in the farm manager category of this year's Fonterra-Westpac Waikato/King Country Dairy Excellence Awards, although he credits 2-i-c Dave Morgan with the idea of entering the competition.

Ted says the Waikeria team is looking forward to judging, and views the competition as a chance to put the farm on the map.

"We have a learning platform for 25 inmates - some doing NZQA and some who have never been near a cow in their lives," says Ted.

"The demands of our unique situation are also our biggest challenge. Our focus is on the progression of inmates, supporting them in a way that reduces the chances of them re-offending. The inmates come first and foremost, then the cows, so balancing the human element against producing a quality product makes keeps us on our toes.

"The most enjoyable part of my position is taking an inmate, who has never milked a cow in his life, and seeing him develop to the point where he can carry out the most important roles in the farm dairy.

"Through fair treatment and encouragement you see inmates develop the confidence and skills they need to be successful on their release."

Competition for this year's awards soon gets under way in earnest, with the first round of judging this week.

Winners in both the farm business and farm manager categories will be named at a dinner on March 23 in Hamilton. The Farm Business of the Year regional winner will also host an On-Farm Open Day on Thursday April14, inviting the dairy farming community onto an award winning Fonterra farm.

They will then go up against the five other regional winners in a second round of judging, with the national winners to be announced in Christchurch on June 10.

Entrants in the Farm Business category are competing for a $10,000 study trip to South America, one of Fonterra's market regions, giving them the opportunity to meet sales staff and customers and gain an insight into the cooperative's overseas operations.

Winning Farm Manager's will take away a New Zealand study tour plus $2000, with another $1,000 worth of sponsors product in the prize pool.

This year's Waikato/King Country entrants are:

FONTERRA WESTPAC FARM BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

Malcolm and Jody Ellis - Te Awamutu.

Graeme and Margaret Shaw - Te Awamutu.

Doug and Penny Storey - Te Awamutu

FONTERRA WESTPAC FARM MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Eric and Leanne Drabble - Otorohanga

Gary Frank and Maree King - Te Awamutu

Myron Horsford - Otorohanga.

Dean and Laura Lupton - Te Awamutu

Peter and Debbie McIntyre - Otorohonga

Chant'e Parker - Cambridge

Greg and Jackie Roberts - Te Awamutu

Gary and Vicki Smith - Te Awamutu

William and Nelly Smythe - Morrinsville

Paul and Debbie Stephenson - Te Awamutu

Richard and Karen Townshend - Ohaupo

Matthew Young and Sheena Slater - Cambridge

Ted Stone - Te Awamutu

-ends-


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