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Diversity within Sharemilker Finalists

13 April 2012

Diversity within Sharemilker Finalists

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest are a mix of experienced and new dairy farmers, and small, medium and large-scale operators. There are some migrants to New Zealand, is one man competing against 11 couples, and one equity farm manager competing against 11 sharemilkers.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 12 regional New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards competitions always discover some talented and interesting finalists to contest for the national titles.

“This year’s finalists are a high calibre group focused and confident in achieving their goal of owning a stake in the dairy industry. They are young, ambitious and growing their businesses at great rates,” Mrs Keeping says.

The winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced in Auckland on May 12. They will compete for about $140,000 in cash and prizes.

The 12 finalists in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest will compete for cash and prizes worth more than $80,000. Whakatane farmer Bryan Power, DairyNZ consultant Miranda Hunter and Westpac banker Andy Ewen will spend two hours on each finalist’s farm judging them on aspects ranging from hygiene, pasture and financial management to leadership. New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards trustee and farmer Alister Body will join the judging panel for its final component, an interview.

The finalists are dominanted by traditional 50% sharemilkers, with nine of the finalists operating with 50% contracts. Central Plateau sharemilker John Butterworth is the only single man, and he is also the youngest in the group at 24 years, although 10 of the finalists are aged less than 35 years.

The oldest among the finalists, West Coast Top of the South representatives Paul and Debra Magner are the only equity farm managers and came into the industry nine years ago after Paul Magner previously worked as a geologist and Debra Magner worked as a rural banker.

The Magners are also operating the biggest dairy farm in the finals, with the Hokitika property milking 1470 cows and expanding. Northland representatives Miles Harrison and Lucy Heffernan have the smallest herd, with 240 cows.

Ms Heffernan is from the United Kingdom, as are the Otago finalists James and Helen Hartshorne and Canterbury North Otago finalist Edna Hawe, while Taranaki finalist James Van Den Brand is Australian.

“With such diversity it is going to be really interesting to see who comes out on top!” 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 and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.

The 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year finalists:
• Auckland Hauraki – Scott & Alicia Paterson, 50% 630 cows, Paeroa
• Bay of Plenty – Richard & Amy Fowler, 50% 345 cows, Te Puke
• Canterbury North Otago – Edna & Sarah Hawe, 17.5% 1400 cows, Ashburton
• Central Plateau – John Butterworth, 50% 500 cows, Mamaku
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa – William & Sally Bosch, 50% 330 cows, Martinborough
• Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua – Shaun & Liza Connor, 50% 242 cows, Shannon
• Northland – Miles Harrison & Lucy Heffernan, 50% 240 cows, Wellsford
• Otago – James & Helen Hartshorne, 50% 540 cows, Tapanui
• Southland – Billy & Sharn Roskam, 50% 910 cows, Winton
• Taranaki – Rebecca & James Van Den Brand, 45% 380 cows, Hawera
• Waikato – Barry & Nicky McTamney, 50% 275 cows, Otorohanga
• West Coast Top of The South – Paul & Debra Magner, equity farm managing 1470 cows, Hokitika.

More information on each of the finalists can be found at


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