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Central Plateau Winners Enjoy Dairy Awards Experience

Central Plateau Winners Enjoy Dairy Awards Experience

All three major winners in the 2016 Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards have entered the awards previously, enjoying the experience and gaining from the ability to make personal and business improvements.

At the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Rotorua Events Centre last night, Ross and Karla Shaw were named 2016 Central Plateau Share Farmers of the Year, Leighton Swan became the 2016 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year and Olivia Wade the 2016 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year.

It was the third time both Ross and Karla Shaw and Olivia Wade had entered the awards, and the second time for Leighton Swan.

“Entering the awards has given us an in-depth analysis of all our farm systems, great feedback from the judges and networking opportunities within the industry,” the Shaws’ say.

“The awards had helped me identify where I can improve in the business and I’ve found the process of preparing for the judging presentation beneficial,” Mr Swan says.

Ms Wade used the awards for experience and to enhance her skill set.

Regional Managers Donald and Kirsten Watson say there are many business and personal reasons why people enter the awards. “We really hope that our first time entrants gain some of those wonderful benefits and come back again next year. There’s heaps to gain from being involved in the awards, irrespective of whether you win.”

The 2016 Central Plateau Share Farmers of the Year, Ross and Karla Shaw, are 20% equity managers in partnership with Mr Shaw’s parents, Jim and Helen Shaw, on a 500-cow Reporoa property. Aged 33 and 32 years, the couple has been in the position since 2010 and aim to increase their share in the farm to 40% in the short term and ultimately take full ownership in the property, called Sangro Farm.

The Shaws, who were runners-up in the competition last year, won $18,700 in prizes.

They aim to operate a profitable and safe dairy farm business and their farming system gives them the ability to adapt to the changing farming environment.

The runners-up in the Share Farmer competition were Tokoroa contract milkers Matt and Kelly Fowlie, who won $10,700 in prizes. Rotorua 50% sharemilkers, Carlos and Bernice Delos Santos, placed third and won $6050 in prizes.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, New Zealand Farm Source and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO.

The 2016 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, Leighton Swan, plans to work his way to farm ownership before retiring on his own drystock farm.

Mr Swan, aged 32 years, has been in the industry for 15 years and has spent the past two seasons managing the 940-cow Mangakino farm owned by the Wairarapa Moana Incorporation. It is the first time he has farmed outside of Taranaki, his home region. He won $11,200 in prizes.

“A real strength at Wairarapa Moana is the support given both in terms of professional development and mentoring. Mangakino is also a great community to be involved with personally.”

He says the scale of the property and the ability to move cows and feed between the Wairarapa Moana group of farms to achieve the best result is a strength.

Second place in the Dairy Manager competition went to 31-year-old Reporoa farm manager Anthony Kiff, who won $5700 in prizes. Reporoa production manager Josh Strugnell, aged 28 years, placed third winning $5100 in prizes.

The 2016 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Olivia Wade, entered the awards to gain experience and add to her skill set.

The 23-year-old assistant manager won $7850 in prizes and is employed on her parents’, Nigel and Suzanne Wade, Atiamuri farm.

She has been dairy farming for three years and is focused on gaining more knowledge and experience to assist in her career plans to progress to contract milking and lower order sharemilking.

“I am working towards gaining my New Zealand Diploma in Agribusiness through Primary ITO, having gained my Human Resources paper and am also working towards my Business Management paper.”

Outside of farming, Ms Wade has a team of six horses and is the head instructor of the Upper Atiamuri Pony Club and coach of the Timberlands North Island Show Jumping Team.

The Dairy Trainee runner-up was Reporoa second-in-charge Claudia Odlin, aged 19 years. She won $3000 in prizes. Mihi second-in-charge Liam Sangster, aged 19, was third winning $1900 in prizes.

The Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on April 7 on the Reporoa farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Ross and Karla Shaw, equity manage. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Leighton Swan, Dairy Trainee of the Year, Olivia Wade, as well as the region’s 2008 Sharemilker of the Year, Bryan Gibson. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:

• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Matt & Kelly Fowlie

• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Carlos & Bernice Delos Santos

• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Dan & Michelle Brice

• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Matt & Kelly Fowlie

• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Dan & Michelle Brice

• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Mark & Adelle Pacey

• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Ross & Karla Shaw

• Westpac Business Performance Award – Ross & Karla Shaw

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:

• BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Rebecca Dean

• Stretton & Co Limited Employee Engagement Award – Josh Strugnell

• I.S. Dam Lining Limited Leadership Award – Anthony Kiff

• Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Leighton Swan

• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Leighton Swan

• Primary ITO Power Play Award – Anthony Kiff

• Fonterra Farm Source Farm Management Award – Josh Strugnell

• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Leighton Swan

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

• T H Enterprises Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Maurice Bryant

• Bay of Plenty Regional Council Farming Knowledge Award – Daniel White

• Rotorua Lakes Council Community & Industry Involvement Award – Olivia Wade

• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Olivia Wade


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