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Changing Face Of Dairy Industry

For Immediate Release

1 May 2008

Changing Face Of Dairy Industry


The changing face of the dairy industry is evident among the finalists of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards – where recent arrivals from Japan, Ireland, England and the Netherlands are challenging New Zealanders to win national farming honours.

Awards National Convenor Chris Keeping says the background of the finalists in this year’s awards is the most multi-cultural since the awards began in 1990.

The finalists are competing for the titles of New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year and a prize pool worth more than $100,000. The winners will be announced at an awards dinner in Christchurch on May 24.

“It is great that at a time when the New Zealand dairy industry and dairy farmers are expanding their portfolios by investing in dairy farming in South America, China or Australia, others are seeing opportunity to grow their skills, develop their farm business and invest in our industry here.

“There were other entrants from places like Zimbabwe who did well in regional competitions and will probably be represented in our finals next year,” she says.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Fonterra, RD1, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, and Honda, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

Ms Keeping says Japanese farm manager Tomoko Ishijima has created a stir in winning the Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year award and the opportunity to compete for the national farm manager title, as she is female and small in a career many consider physically demanding.

“Tomoko obviously doesn’t see any barriers, and like most ambitious young dairy farmers she aims to own her own farm one day.

“The Bay of Plenty Sharemilkers of the Year Richard and Louise Hamilton arrived from the UK less than three years ago. They’ve only been dairy farming two years and are already winning awards. They are obviously fast learners and love the lifestyle dairy farming offers them and their family and are focused on investing in an equity partnership.”

Ms Keeping says the other finalists tell similar stories.

“It’s all positive for our industry if these people tell their friends and family back home about the opportunities available in New Zealand. The dairy industry has a well reported labour shortage, so needs more talented and motivated people.

“The awards organisers are only too happy to promote the diverse background of our entrants and the opportunities available to progress in the industry. It is what we are all about.”




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