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Brains, Beauty And Brawn in 2016 Dairy Manager Finalists

Brains, Beauty And Brawn in 2016 Dairy Manager Finalists

The 11 finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year competition include a former physiotherapist, economist and motor cycle engineer.

National finals judging is underway as the group of 10 men and one woman compete for prizes worth nearly $50,000 and the honour of winning the national title at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner in Wellington on May 14.

Winners in the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will also be announced, with nearly $170,000 in total prizes awarded.

“This year’s group of Dairy Manager finalists are a really interesting and varied bunch in that some have a stellar academic background, some are relatively new to the industry and others have already carved out a strong dairy farming career,” Dairy Industry Awards General Manager Chris Keeping says.

“Their ambition and eagerness to progress in the dairy industry is also evident, with two finalists having secured contract milking positions for the new season beginning in June and others are focused on what they need to do to make that next step towards their ultimate goal of farm ownership.”

The Dairy Manager competition is open to all dairy farm workers that are employed in a full-time position on a farm. They can have no equity in any dairy farms and they cannot be self-employed.

“The competition aims to recognise those people that are in the mid stages of their dairy farming career, so it encompasses a cross-section of experience, age and positions,” Mrs Keeping says.

“One of our finalists holds a Masters of Applied Economics with first class honours and worked as an economist before entering the dairy industry just two years ago while another has spent 10 years in the dairy industry holding various roles and even working on a Welsh dairy farm for four years.

“It’s fascinating the different paths people take. What the awards reveal is that if you have the right attitude and are prepared to work hard you will be rewarded and do well, whatever your pathway.”

She says the finalists include seven who hold farm manager positions, two with herd manager roles and another two in production manager positions. They range in age from 23 years to 36 years and are involved with herds ranging in size from 250 cows to 940 cows.

It is the first time four of the finalists had entered the competition, while another five had entered for a second time. Nearly all the finalists are lifting their dairy farming skills by studying a range of qualifications through Primary ITO.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO.
The on-farm judging component concludes on May 11 when all finalists meet in Wellington for a programme of activities and the final judging, an interview, is held.

More information is available on

The 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year finalists:
• Northland Brendon Davison, 30, herd manager 450 cows, Mata
• Auckland Hayden Kerr, 26, farm manager 270 cows, west Huntly
• Waikato Leyton Evans, 31, farm manager 685 cows, Hamilton
• Bay of Plenty Thomas Chatfield, 30, farm manager 500 cows, Whakatane
• Central Plateau Leighton Swan, 32, farm manager 940 cows, Mangakino
• Taranaki Sam Howard, 27, production manager 312 cows, Stratford
• Manawatu Renae Flett, 29, farm manager 250 cows, Palmerston North
• Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Lance Graves, 26, herd manager 315 cows, Martinborough
• West Coast/Top of the South Matt Birchfield, 36, production manager 785 cows, Haupiri
• Canterbury Hamish Kilpatrick, 23, farm manager 370 cows, Culverden
• Southland/Otago Wayne Ashmore, 31, farm manager 930 cows, Otautau.


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