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Social Media Stars Win Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Awards

11pm, March 14

Social Media Stars Win Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Awards

The 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards winners are active among a growing group of dairy farmers turning to social media to support, share and gain information to help progress their dairy career.

At the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Indian Hall in Pukekohe last night, Brad Markham and Matthew Herbert were named 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmers of the Year, Hayden Kerr became the 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the Year and James Doidge the 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Mr Markham, Mr Herbert and Mr Kerr are all active and well-known among dairy farmers on Twitter. “We enjoy connecting with other farmers, in New Zealand and overseas, on social media platforms like Twitter,” Mr Markham and Mr Herbert say. “It can be a great way to share ideas.

“We both have media backgrounds, meaning we have strong communication skills and believe good communication is pivotal to the success of any business to business relationship.”

Mr Markham, aged 35, and Mr Herbert, 25 years, are contract milking 260 cows for Mr Markham’s brother, Lee Markham, at Pepepe, west of Huntly. They won $14,700 in prizes.

The pair is new to the dairy industry, starting as contract milkers in 2014. They entered the awards for the first time this year to fast track their career. They are already progressing to a larger contract milking position in Taranaki in June.

“The free advice we’ve received from bankers, past winners and respected farm owners has been invaluable. The competition made us fine-tune our business plan and has pushed us outside of our comfort zone,” they say.

The former political journalist and political adviser now aim to operate a financially and environmentally sustainable dairy business that is in the region’s top 10%. They also want to secure a 300-cow 50% sharemilking position by the 2018/2019 season.

“We’ve actively chosen to be dairy farmers. We’ve career changed and haven’t just fallen into this career by default. We’re passionate about our animals, and about being a part of a system which feeds people across the world,” the pair says.

The Share Farmer runners-up, Daryl and Christien Breen, won $10,900 in prizes and are 50% sharemilkers at Te Kauwhata. Third place went to Andrew and Nicola Slatherley, also 50% sharemilkers at Te Kauwhata. They won $10,050 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 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the Year, Hayden Kerr, wants to inspire others to do well in the dairy industry.

The 26-year-old is a farm manager on his parents’, Craig and Janine Kerr, 270-cow Rotongaro, also west of Huntly, dairy farm and won $14,000 in prizes.

“I am a fast progressing and highly results driven young farmer, wanting to inspire other young adults to do well in the industry,” Mr Kerr says.

He entered the dairy trainee competition in his first season dairy farming in 2013 and placed in the top six. “I found it a great way to measure my skill level and to help me to assess what I needed to learn as a trainee before moving on to a farm manager role.

“Now, as a farm manager I have gained confidence in my skills set and have a plan of where I am going within the industry and how I am going to get there. Also, the networking I have accumulated since entering the awards has been beneficial in terms of sourcing knowledge and resources for my progression.”

Mr Kerr says working for a family business with a small herd had enabled him to be hands on and more involved in all areas of the business.

The former qualified motorcycle engineer now plans to progress through sharemilking or an equity partnership to farm ownership.

Jacob Jenkins, aged 22, and a second-in-charge was runner-up in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $8000 in prizes. Third place went to 36-year-old Paeroa farm manager, David Rawnsley, who won $4500 in prizes.

The 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, James Doidge, won $7765 in prizes and is second-in-charge on a 500-cow property owned by Stuart and Kim Muir at Aka Aka.

Aged 20 years, Mr Doidge has entered the awards once before to gain experience. “I thought the judges’ feedback would benefit me and it would help me in becoming a better dairy farmer.”

He left school at 16 years to enter the dairy industry and worked for Mr Muir for two years before an accident forced him to take time out and go through recovery. He returned to the Muirs last year.

“My farming goal is to progress through the industry until I can buy cows and go sharemilking, while I save money to buy a farm.”

Twenty-two-year-old Waiuku farm assistant Karli Searle is the Dairy Trainee runner-up, winning $1450 in prizes, and third went to Hauraki Plains farm assistant Emilio Bargiacchi, aged 24 years, winning $3400 in prizes – as he also won a merit award.

The Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on March 31 on the West Waikato farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Brad Markham and Matthew Herbert, contract milk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Hayden Kerr, Dairy Trainee of the Year, James Doidge, as well as the region’s 2004 Sharemilkers of the Year, Craig and Jenny Morrison. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:

• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Mathew & Jemma Morrissey

• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Jason & Corinne Anderson

• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Brad Markham & Matthew Herbert

• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Mathew & Jemma Morrissey

• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Andrew & Nicola Satherley

• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Daryl & Christien Breen

• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Brad Markham & Matthew Herbert

• Westpac Business Performance Award – Andrew & Nicola Satherley

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:

• Williams Farm MooPoo Solutions Most Promising New Entrant Award – Jacob Jenkins

• BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Ltd Employee Engagement Award – Hayden Kerr

• Franklin Vets Leadership Award – Hayden Kerr

• Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Blair Fine

• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Jarrod Miers

• Primary ITO Power Play Award – Hayden Kerr

• Fonterra Farm Source Farm Management Award – David Rawnsley

• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Jacob Jenkins

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

• NRM Most Promising Entrant Award – Matheson Taylor

• Silver Fern Farms Farming Knowledge Award – Oliver Milne

• TripleJump Community & Industry Involvement Award – Emilio Bargiacchi

• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – James Doidge


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