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Ambitious Young Winners in Auckland Hauraki Dairy Awards

Ambitious Young Winners in Auckland Hauraki Dairy Awards

At just 28, the 2013 Auckland Hauraki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, James Courtman, is young, ambitious and already successful.

Mr Courtman won the title and $14,000 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau last night.

“I entered the awards for the first time to challenge myself, to develop better goals, and to try and win!” he said. In February he contested the regional Young Farmers Competition final, winning the AGMARDT agri-business challenge.

Other winners at the 2013 Auckland Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards were Kylie and Michael Cox, winners of the Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year, and Mathew Whittaker, the Auckland Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Mr Courtman is currently 23% sharemilking 870 cows for Mark and Dianne, and Richard and Karyn Townshend at Ngatea. He has a Bachelor of Commerce from Lincoln University and has previously worked on farms in Australia and Chile.

“I believe the strengths of the business are its focus on business operating costs and executing the production plan, which happens because of good skill sets and strong accountability.”

He aims to own up to 30% of a 200,000kg milksolids business within two years and 100% of the business by the time he is 35 years old.

Second place in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest went to Karaka 50% sharemilkers Carl and Julia Marquand, who won $8000 in cash and prizes, and third went to Onewhero 55% sharemilkers Bryce and Rosemarie Costar, who won $7000.

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

The 2013 Auckland Hauraki Farm Managers of the Year, Kylie and Michael Cox, are highly motivated to achieving their goals in an industry they are passionate about. They won $10,500 in cash and prizes.

Mrs Cox, aged 25, has previously entered the dairy trainee contest (placing third in 2011) and the couple has been farming in partnership since 2011 when Mr Cox, 24, left building to join the dairy industry.

“We both have different areas of strength. Kylie is very good with animal health issues due to her past vet nursing experience and I’m very practical and can fix or build almost anything,” says Mr Cox.

“We are highly motivated to achieving our goals. We love our cows and the farming lifestyle and value our good reputation in the community.”

The couple is currently contract milking 620 cows for Neil and Glenda Gray at Turua. The couple’s short-term goal is to increase equity, while their 10-year goal is to own their own farm milking 400 cows.

Second place in the farm manager contest went to Huntly contract milkers, Aaron and Michelle Croucher, who won $4500. Third went to Paeroa contract milkers Warrick and Jessica Smith, who won $2500.

The 2013 Auckland Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Mathew Whittaker, entered the awards for the first time to challenge himself as he had gained in confidence in the past two years in his second in charge role.

Mr Whittaker, aged 28, and who won $5000, is in his fourth year in the industry and is currently working for Steve and Andrea Mills, on their Paerata farm, near Pukekohe, milking 440 cows.

He plans to go managing or lower order sharemilking with wife Claire by 2015. “Our ultimate goal is to be 50% sharemilking with 300 cows within six years.”

Second place in the dairy trainee contest went to Paeroa assistant Andrew Hodgson, aged 23, who won $3000 in prizes, and third place went to 24-year-old Paeroa assistant Marion Reynolds, who won $2000 in prizes.

Auckland Hauraki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, James Courtman, will host a field day on March 28, while Auckland Hauraki Farm Managers of the Year, Kylie and Michael Cox, will host a field day on the Turua farm they manage on April 3. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
• BlackmanSpargo Legal Audit Award – Bryce & Rosemarie Costar
• Nick Hoogeveen & Associates Strategic Planning Award – Bryce & Rosemarie Costar
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – James Courtman
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Carl & Julia Marquand
• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – James Courtman
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Carl & Julia Marquand
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Bryce & Rosemarie Costar
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – James Courtman
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Peter & Charlotte Giddy
• Westpac Business Performance Award – James Courtman

Farm Manager Merit Awards:
• Bayleys Real Estate Leadership Award – Raelene Williams
• Bell-Booth Encouragement Award – Stefan Read
• AgITO Human Resource Management Award – Raelene Williams
• Fonterra Best Practice Award – Kylie & Michael Cox
• RD1 Farm Management Award – Kylie & Michael Cox
• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Kylie & Michael Cox

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Andrew Hodgson
• Franklin Vets Farming Knowledge Award – Marion Reynolds


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