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Seven-Time Entrants Win Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Awards

Seven-Time Entrants Win Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Awards

Pahiatua farmers Shaun and Kate Mitchell can finally claim the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title after entering seven times and placing runners-up last year.

The couple won $16,400 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Copthorne Solway, in Masterton, last night. The other big winners were Bart and Tineke Gysbertsen, the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Farm Managers of the Year, and Ken Ahradsen, the Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Mitchells say they have entered the awards multiple times due to the benefits of the feedback they have received. “It’s helped us to get a better understanding of our business and goals. The awards has also brought us out of our comfort zone and given us an opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded people.”

The couple are 26% sharemilking 440 cows on a Fonterra-owned farm. They say their strengths are in stock and pasture management.

“We are passionate about our animals and enjoy working with them. We are focused on keeping quality on a grass based system where there are challenges with stony soils and by being on a Fonterra farm.”

The couple are both aged 30 and have four young children. Their goal is to own a self-contained farm and milk once-a-day.

Second place in the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa sharemilker/equity farmer contest went to Norsewood 50% sharemilkers Jason and Catherine McGrory, who won $6700, and Dannevirke 50% sharemilkers Scott and Aimee Charmley were third, winning $7000 in prizes.

The New Zealand 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 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Farm Managers of the Year, Bart and Tineke Gysbertsen have been dairy farming for 23 years and are committed to the industry.

The Gysbertsens contract milk 670 cows for Bruce and Tina Patrick at Masterton and won $9200 in cash and prizes. It was their second time entering the contest, doing so as they found the feedback invaluable.

The couple has eight children. Their daughter Alice, aged 18, is also in the industry and competed in the awards, winning a merit award in the trainee contest.

The Gysbertsens’ goal is to start a calf rearing business, build equity and buy a larger block of land for drystock farming.

Featherston farm managers Rowan McGilvary and Jay Harris were second and third in the farm manager contest, winning $4600 and $1500 in prizes respectively. Both men work for Peveral Industries.

The winner of the 2013 Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ken Ahradsen, could claim to have inside knowledge as he farms for the region’s dairy awards convenors, Clarence and Elise Stolte.

Mr Ahradsen, aged 23 years, manages a 500 cow herd for the Stoltes at Carterton and won $4700 in prizes. He entered the awards as he finds the judges feedback valuable and is motivated to find opportunities to lift performance. “Any recognition and credibility gained from winning an award will also help me progress to achieve my goals.”

He has purchased a drystock block and plans to develop it and run a dairy heifer operation. His goal is to step up to farm managing this coming season and progress to sharemilking.

Second place in the trainee contest went to Woodville assistant manager Tyne Stafford, who won $1750. Third went to Dannevirke herd manager Kyle Paton, winning $250 in prizes.

Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Shaun and Kate Mitchell, will host a field day on April 4, while Farm Managers of the Year, Bart and Tineke Gysbertsen, will host a field day on the Masterton farm they manage on April 11. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
• Harvest Electronics Innovation Award – Scott & Aimee Charmley
• MacDougalls Best Lower Order Sharemilker – Shaun & Kate Mitchell
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Jason & Catherine McGrory
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Scott & Aimee Charmley
• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Clint Worthington
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Shaun & Kate Mitchell
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Scott & Aimee Charmley
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Scott & Aimee Charmley
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Shaun & Kate Mitchell
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Shaun & Kate Mitchell

Farm Manager Merit Awards:
• BEL Group Most Promising Farm Manager Award – Nick Bertram
• AgITO Human Resource Management Award – Bart & Tineke Gysbertsen
• Fonterra Best Practice Award – Dale & Sherryn Marshall
• RD1 Farm Management Award – Rowan McGilvary
• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – John Wyatt

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Tyne Stafford
• Dorrington Poole Farming Knowledge Award – Alice Gysbertsen


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