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Dairy Awards Winners Achieve Goals

Dairy Awards Winners Achieve Goals

The 2013 Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Morgan and Hayley Easton, are using their knowledge to achieve their farming goals.

“Both Hayley and I are well educated in fields supportive of an agribusiness career, which we think is important when running large-scale dairy farms today,” Morgan Easton says. “Large dairy farms are big businesses with significant turnover and numbers of people employed. We feel the knowledge gained from our education has undoubtedly helped us achieve our farming goals to date.”

The other major winners at the Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards dinner held at Hotel Ashburton last night were Richard Pearse, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Adam Caldwell, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. Coincidentally Mr Pearse employs Mr Caldwell as an assistant on the Ashburton farm he manages.

Judges said the sharemilker/equity farmer contest was tight, and they were extremely impressed with the calibre of entrants and farming businesses they are operating.

Morgan and Hayley Easton, aged 30 and 27, have spent the past five years developing the 365ha Oamaru property owned by David and Clare Easton and where they 50% sharemilk, increasing cow numbers from 450 to 1350 in that time.

It was the first time the couple, who won $18,600 in prizes, had entered the awards. “We wanted to have most of the development done before we entered and have the farm both running and looking the way we wanted.”

Mr Easton holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University, as well as a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics, obtained while on a Fulbright Scholarship at Purdue University in the USA. Hayley Easton holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Management from Leeds University and worked as an assistant accountant until the couple’s first child was born last year.

The Easton’s goal is to purchase a farm within five years. To help achieve this they run an expanded artificial insemination programme to increase young stock and improve herd breeding worth. They also plan to take on a second sharemilking position within two years.

Dorie 50% sharemilkers Andrew and Hayley Slater were placed second in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest, winning $9000, and Culverden lower order sharemilkers Nigel and Gina Gardner were third, taking home $7500 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 Canterbury/North Otago Farm Manager of the Year, Richard Pearse, wants his reputation in the industry to be based on honesty and integrity.

Mr Pearse, aged 30, won $10,700 in prizes and is contract milking 955 cows for Graham and Jane Thomas at Ashburton. He is committed for two more seasons with the Thomas’ and then plans, with partner Susan Geddes, to progress to sharemilking or equity partnership.

“We highly value our reputation in the dairy industry and as we are looking to progress further we believe that having a good image is crucial to our success.”

He also values the input of those around him like staff, farm owners and rural professionals. “We aim to ensure – through good communication – that people feel appreciated and involved in both the running of the farm and the business side of it as well.”

It was the first time he had entered the awards, after beginning his dairy farming career in Balclutha in 2000 and progressing.

Second place in the region’s farm manager contest went to Temuka contract milkers Hamish and Jill Johnson, who won $5900, and third were Ashburton farm managers Jason and Paula Strawbridge, winning $2600 in prizes.

The 2013 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Adam Caldwell, has made a winning start to his dairy farming career. The 23-year-old is in his first season in the industry and won $4700 in prizes to claim the title. He is also employed by the region’s winning farm manager Richard Pearse on the Ashburton farm owned by the Thomas’.

Mr Caldwell completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture at Lincoln University before entering the industry and aims to become a farm owner.

“Entering the dairy awards has given me the opportunity to meet and network with other like-minded people in the agricultural sector, as well as the chance to explore my personal knowledge of the dairy industry and improve my communication and interview skills.”

The dairy trainee runner-up was Rakaia farm assistant Jonathon Brown, who won $500, and third was Oxford production manager Pat Murphy, winning $250 in prizes.

Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Morgan and Hayley Easton, will host a field day on April 30, while Canterbury/North Otago Farm Manager of the Year, Richard Pearse, will host a field day on April 23. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
• Canterbury/North Otago DIA First Time Entrant Award – James & Ceri Bourke
• Plucks Engineering Ltd Innovation Award – Brent Nish
• Riverside Veterinary Services Ltd Animal Husbandry Award – Brent Nish
• Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award – Michael & Nicola Smith
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Nigel & Gina Gardner
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Nigel & Gina Gardner
• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Morgan & Hayley Easton
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Nigel & Gina Gardner
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Andrew & Hayley Slater
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Morgan & Hayley Easton
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Michael & Nicola Smith
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Morgan & Hayley Easton

Farm Manager Merit Awards:
• Canterbury/North Otago DIA Most Promising Farm Manager Award – Chris Eden
• T H Enterprises Ltd Leadership Award – Richard Pearse
• AgITO Human Resource Management Award – Stephen Hyde
• Fonterra Best Practice Award – Hamish & Jill Johnson
• RD1 Farm Management Award – Hamish & Jill Johnson
• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Richard Pearse

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Glen Trayner
• Canterbury/North Otago DIA Farming Knowledge Award – Brad Fallaver


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