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Industry Turns Out To Celebrate Dairying's Finest

FRIDAY 19 MAY 2006


More than three hundred dairy farmers, industry professionals and key business people turned out this evening at the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards National Dinner in Rotorua to recognise and celebrate New Zealand's brightest and most talented dairy farmers.

For the past seven months, more than 75 farm managers, farm owners and their partners from across the country have been put under the microscope by the Awards' panel of judges. Tonight's Awards reception recognised outstanding performances by all entrants and celebrated those who came out on top:

The 2006 Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards National Winners are:

National Farm Managers of the Year: David and Shirlene Cochrane (Geraldine)

National Farm Managers of the Year Runners-Up: Kylie and Malcolm Welsh (Dargaville)

Farm Manager Performance Awards:

* Telecom Goal Setting & Communication Award: Kylie and Malcolm Welsh
* Livestock Improvement Productivity Management and Financial Planning Award: Kylie and Malcolm Welsh
* RD1 Human Wealth Award: David and Shirlene Cochrane
* DTS Quality Management and Environmental Awareness Award: David and Shirlene Cochrane

* Ravensdown Pasture and Herd Management for Sustainability Award: Zacharia and Anne Haderbache (Balclutha)

Farm Business International Travel Scholarship Recipients:

* Craig and Helen Elliott (Ashburton)
* Peter Flood and daughter Coryn Flood (Ruawai)
* Arthur and Helen Blom (Gore)
* Peter and Joanne George (Te Awamutu)
* Bryan and Leanne Bailey (Stratford)
* Adolph and Mary-Ann Mathis (Tokoroa)

Mazda Lifetime Achievement Award: Sir James Graham (Mount Maunganui)

Awards Project Manager Barbara Kuriger said she has been impressed by the great number and high calibre of entries in the Awards this year, which has made for an interesting and geographically diverse competition. However, she says they do all have one thing in common.

"This year's entrants all have such a passion for dairying," she says. "Their commitment to the industry and the enthusiasm they bring to what they do really shone through as they went through the judging process.

"This special group of entrants gives me immense confidence in their ability to take our industry forward into the future and ensure that the New Zealand dairy industry continues to shine."

In praising the success of the competition, Barbara Kuriger acknowledged the help and support of Awards' sponsors Telecom, Mazda, RDI, Ravensdown, Livestock Improvement, Dairy Technology Services, and industry supporter Dexcel.

The Awards' inaugural two-day conference gave entrants, past winners, sponsors and industry professionals the opportunity to share their knowledge, their successes and the lessons they have learnt along the way.

The regional winners of the Awards' Farm Manager category were hosted by competition sponsors on a three-day tour, which offered insights into business planning, personal development, and mentoring and motivational opportunities.

For further information visit



David and Shirlene Cochrane (Geraldine)

David and Shirlene manage a 580 cow, 163 effective hectare farm in Geraldine where they employ two full time staff and three part timers.

They have been Lower Order Sharemilking on this farm since 2004. Prior to this, they have moved up from Farm Hand, to Herd Manager, to Contract Milker on other various farms, to the position they are currently in.

Before getting into dairying David was an Apprentice toolmaker and an Engineering Foreman. Over the years, Shirlene has owned a Les Mills Franchise - which she sold 18 months ago - and has instructed aerobics for twelve years. She loves music and dance, camping and waterskiing. Shirlene is currently a Regional Co-ordinator for FarmSafe.

Off the farm, David enjoys instructing Tae Kwon Do, sea fishing, boating and waterskiing. His also enjoys the rugby.


Malcolm and Kylie Welsh (Dargaville)

Malcolm and Kylie manage the 200 cow, 60 effective hectare Northland Agricultural Research Farm in Dargaville - a position they have had for six years and thoroughly enjoy.

Malcolm was raised on a dairy farm but after finishing school, he went into forestry and tried his hand in a few different positions, before moving back into dairying.

He and Kylie - who was raised on a pedigree Jersey stud - have been together for 12 years and have four children - aged from four to 20 years of age.

Recently, Kylie has been very involved on a working group for the Northland Agricultural Research Farm and The Northland Dairy Development Trust. She has nearly finished a Diploma in Agribusiness Management and she has also accepted a position tutoring agricultural students this year.

The couple have been involved in this competition before, winning the Northland/Hauraki regional Farm Manager award in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards in 2005.

They enjoy spending their spare time involved with their younger children's school and kindergarten activities.


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