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Otago Dairy Awards Judges Give Winning Advice

Otago Dairy Awards Judges Give Winning Advice

Entering the Otago Dairy Industry Awards three times has set James and Helen Hartshorne on a pathway to success – with the couple claiming the region’s top prize, the 2012 Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year.

“The judging feedback showed us that although we were competent at running the practical side of our farm, we would gain huge benefit from a better understanding of and an ability to analyse the financial and business side of our operation,” the Hartshornes said.

“And as a result of contacts made through our judging panels we secured our first 50:50 sharemilking job.”

The couple won $16,600 in cash and prizes at last night’s awards held at Balclutha Memorial Hall. The 2012 Otago Farm Managers of the Year, Gareth and Angela Dawson, and 2012 Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Richard Lang, were also announced.

James and Helen Hartshorne are in their third season 50% sharemilking 540 cows for Hennie Amtink on 175ha at Tapanui.

“We are both from the United Kingdom and studied agriculture in the UK. We travelled to New Zealand in 2000 and, other than holidays, have never left. We know that if we had stayed in the UK we would never have had the opportunity to achieve our goal of owning our own cows and running our own farming business. This drives us to continue doing the best we can.

“We also believe that the fact farming is a career for both of us means we can be 100% support for each other both practically on the farm, and at home.”

Balclutha 50% sharemilker Shaun Thomas placed second in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest, winning $8250 in prizes. Third place went to Tapanui 50% sharemilkers Peter and Christine Johnstone, who won $4130 in prizes.

The 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.

Clinton farm managers Gareth and Angela Dawson claimed the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title, winning $11,000 in cash and prizes. The couple, who was runner-up last year, is managing a 560-cow 186ha property owned by Ian Roy.

They say business strengths are having good procedures and diversity of work. “Our future farming goal is to progress through the dairy industry and one day become farm owners.”

The Dawsons entered the awards for a second time to network, raise their profile and analyse their achievements.

Tapanui farm manager Anthony Bishell was second in the farm manager contest, winning $4700 in prizes. Mr Bishell won the region’s dairy trainee title in 2009.

The 2012 Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Richard Lang, is working in good company. Mr Lang, aged 28, is an assistant on the 600-cow Stirling farm run by former Otago and New Zealand dairy trainee winner Blake Korteweg.

He won $6000 in cash and prizes and is in his first season in the dairy industry after eight years shepherding on sheep and cattle farms. “I entered to meet people in the industry, build confidence and to get my name out there for opportunities.”

His goals include progressing to 50% sharemilking within seven years. “I am very determined to work hard towards farm ownership because I am starting from scratch and I have no family farm to take over.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Tapanui herd manager Thomas Jaeger placed second in the dairy trainee contest, winning $725 in prizes, and Clinton herd manager Ben Sanders, aged 24, was third winning $400.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of nearly $140,000 in Auckland on May 12.

Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, James and Helen Hartshorne, will host a field day on April 17, while Otago Farm Managers of the Year, Gareth and Angela Dawson, will host a field day on the Clinton farm they manage on April 24. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.conz.

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
• Shand Thomson Encouragement Award – Todd McCammon & Holly Rolston
• Clutha Vets Animal Husbandry Award – Robert & Fleur Scurr
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Peter & Christine Johnstone
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Shaun Thomas
• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Shaun Thomas
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – James & Helen Hartshorne
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Robert & Fleur Scurr
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – James & Helen Hartshorne
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – James & Helen Hartshorne
• Westpac Business Performance Award – James & Helen Hartshorne

Farm Manager Merit Awards:
• Galloway Cook Allan Encouragement Award – Thomas Hewitt
• Crombie Lockwood Best First Time Entrant Award – Anthony Bishell
• DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Gareth & Angela Dawson
• RD1 Farm Management Award – Gareth & Angela Dawson
• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Gareth & Angela Dawson

Dairy Trainee Merit Award:
• AgITO Farming Knowledge Merit Award – Tanya Shailer

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