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Northland Dairy Awards Winners Plan Future Positively

Northland Dairy Awards Winners Plan Future Positively

The winners of the 2016 Northland Dairy Industry Awards are positive about their plans to progress in the dairy industry, in spite of current low milk returns.

Glen and Trish Rankin were named the 2016 Northland Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s awards dinner held at Forum North in Whangarei last night. The other major winners were Brendon Davison, the 2016 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year, and Christina Aitken, the 2016 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Glen and Trish Rankin won $12,000 in prizes and have been dairy farming since 2000. Aged 38 years, they are currently 50% sharemilking 265 cows for Michael Moss at Mangamuka.

The couple has four young sons and has worked in Canterbury and Hawkes Bay. They say they are excited to be in Northland. “There are so many opportunities to grow. We are very lucky to have such supportive farm owners who work with us extremely well in this new era of low farming payouts.”

They have structured their business debt, income and expenses around making the most of every payout.

It was the fourth time they had entered the awards – placing third in the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa regional competition in 2014 and 2015. “The prizes are great, we have learnt new skills and ways to analyse our business and it has helped us to focus on our goals. It has given purpose to our planning and decision making.”

Before entering the industry Mr Rankin worked as a livestock officer for the Ministry for Primary Industries and Trish Rankin was a teacher in a deputy principal position until 2014.

Their goal is farm ownership within five years.

The runners-up in the Northland Share Farmer of the Year competition are Ruakaka 50% sharemilkers, Damian and Rochelle Dixon, who won $9250 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 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year, Brendon Davison, plans to go into partnership with his brother in order to progress faster in the industry.

Mr Davison, aged 30 years, is herd manager on a 450-cow Mata farm owned by Graeme and Shirley Hewlett. He won $8250 in prizes.

He says major changes to entry criteria in the 2016 competition enabled him to enter the awards for the first time. “It’s something I have always wanted to do, but had been unable to in the past.”

A solo father to two children, he says he aims to be a positive role model and appreciates the support of his employers. “I’m very driven and passionate about the fact that I’m not only raising my kids by myself but that I am also able to do what I love which is being a dairy farmer.”

Mr Davison has gained a range of Primary ITO qualifications and is also active in kickboxing and weight training. “I spend a lot of time on personal development and want to be the strongest and smartest version of myself.”

Whangarei Heads herd manager, Jared Dean, aged 26 years, was second in the Dairy Manager competition winning $4100 in prizes, while Hikurangi farm manager Balkaran Singh Sran, aged 28 years, was third, winning $3500 in prizes.

The 2016 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Christina Aitken, is planning her dairy industry career pathway and aims to be a herd manager within a couple of years.

“I really enjoy being a part of the dairy industry – even those early mornings – and I can’t wait to grow and progress.”

The 21-year-old is currently a farm assistant for Kris and Renee Gatehouse on a 340-cow Ruawai farm owned by Barry and Heather Bowers. She won $7025 in prizes.

Miss Aitken plans to purchase her first heifers in the next season and progress through farm management to sharemilking.

It was her first time entering the awards and she was encouraged to do so by her employers, who entered the Dairy Manager competition. “I felt that I was up for the challenge,” she says.

The Dairy Trainee runner-up is 20-year-old Wellsford farm assistant, Kurtis Danks, winning $3700 in prizes, while third place went to Sarah Powell, an 18-year-old Titoki farm assistant, winning $1250 in prizes.

The Northland Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on March 29 on the Kohukohu farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Glen and Trish Rankin, sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Brendon Davison, Dairy Trainee of the Year, Christina Aitken, as well as former New Zealand Sharemilkers of the Year, Bruce and Julie Paton. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found


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