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Could Female Claim Top 2014 Dairy Trainee Honour?

6 May 2014

Could Female Claim Top 2014 Dairy Trainee Honour?

Five females are competing against five males to become the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“The girls have really demonstrated that they can match the guys this year and that a dairy farming career is one they can not only choose, but excel in,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

The 10 dairy trainee finalists began a study tour of the Waikato on Monday before the winner is announced during the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards black tie dinner attended by 650 people in Auckland on Friday . Winners in the 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and 2014 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year will also be announced and the winners will share in a prize pool worth more than $170,000.

Mrs Keeping says the trainee finalists are talented and represent the type of people attracted to and succeeding in the industry, with five holding Bachelor degrees, and another two having completed apprenticeships.

“They are young and ambitious, they enjoy what they do and they can see opportunities within a dairy farming career pathway that will lead them to their end goal of farm ownership or the like.”

She says the youngest trainee finalist, Alice Gysbertsen representing the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa region, is just 19 years old but has considerable dairy farming experience having grown up on a dairy farm. In contrast, Canterbury/North Otago’s Isaac Vujcich, aged 28 years, is the oldest finalist and has a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in marketing and management, and worked in Information Technology (IT) for four years before switching careers to dairying.

The trainees are assisting on farms milking 180 cows up to 800 cows and from Kerikeri in the North to Winton in the South.

“The dairy trainee contest is now by far the largest and most competitive of the three competitions run by the dairy awards, with 292 entries received for the 2014 contest.”

Mrs Keeping says interest in the trainee contest is growing each year, with entry numbers having increased from 251 in 2013.

“We are getting people coming back and entering again – not to necessarily win – but for the awards experience as it does help to motivate, lift confidence and enhance industry enthusiasm for those who do enter. The contest also provides a social meeting place for the trainees, where they can meet other entrants that are similar minded and keen to progress in the industry.”

She says the study tour, which began in South Auckland and is based in Waikato, aims to excite and educate the trainees.

“We introduce them to a range of dairy farmers who share their farming story as well as showcase some of the top operators and the type of technology they are applying to achieve great results. The tour is about broadening their horizons and letting them see what is possible while also ensuring they have some fun along the way.

“I’m sure that most of these finalists will stay in touch for years to come and support each other as they progress in the dairy industry,” Mrs Keeping says.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1, Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO (formerly AgITO).

The 2014 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year finalists:
• Northland – Matthew Snedden
• Auckland/Hauraki – Marion Reynolds
• Bay of Plenty – Cameron Luxton
• Central Plateau – Ruth Hone
• Taranaki – Ben Frost
• Manawatu – Hayley Hoogendyk
• Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa – Alice Gysbertsen.
• West Coast/Top of the South – Amy White
• Canterbury/North Otago – Isaac Vujcich
• Southland/Otago – Josh Lavender.

Visit for more information on the finalists.


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