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Dairy Trainees Embark On Eye-Opening Study Tour

10 May 2016

Dairy Trainees Embark On Eye-Opening Study Tour

The 11 finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour today, visiting award-winning farmers, Fonterra Innovation and Massey University’s No 4 dairy farm.

The trainees will also have a health check, visit a robotic farm, a goat farm, a raw milk farm and hear from a range of speakers on the state of the dairy industry and also on setting and achieving goals.

The tour will finish in Wellington where the group will join finalists in the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year competitions. The final aspect of their judging, an interview, will take place on Friday before the winners of the three competitions are announced at the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national awards dinner at the TSB Arenaon Saturday night . The winners will share about $170,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s a big and exciting week for all our finalists,” General Manager Chris Keeping says. “The study tour is aimed at enabling the trainees to get to know each other as well as opening their minds to what is possible for them to achieve in the dairy industry – if they have the right attitude, work hard and accept some of the many opportunities available to them.

“We know that previous trainees have totally revamped their goals and expectations following the study tour. The tour gives them confidence to progress in the industry and a network of people to contact for advice and support,” Mrs Keeping says.

The dairy trainee competition is targeted at those aged between 18-25 years employed in a full-time capacity on a dairy farm. Trainees can have up to three years full-time experience in the industry and hold a qualification no higher than a NZQA Level 4.

The trainee finalists of seven men and four women will meet in Wellington today before travelling to the Featherston, Wairarapa, farm where 2015 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Matt and Tracey Honeysett are equity managing a 1200-cow property.

The tour is being led by Manawatu dairy farmer and a past chair of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Greg Maughan.

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.

More information is available on

The 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year finalists:

• Northland Christina Aitken, age 21, farm assistant 340 cows, Ruawai

• Auckland James Doidge, 20, 2IC 500 cows, AkaAka

• Waikato Chris Ferguson, 20, 2IC 600 cows, Otorohanga

• Bay of Plenty Michael Simpson, 20, 2IC 450 cows, Whakatane

• Central Plateau Olivia Wade, 23, assistant manager 140 cows, Atiamuri

• Taranaki Sam Hughson, 19, 2IC 810 cows, Hawera

• Manawatu Karl Wood, 21, farm assistant 275 cows, Palmerston North

• Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Nicholas Bailey, 21, assistant manager 950 cows, Greytown

• West Coast/Top of the South Del Bruce, 25, 2IC 280 cows, Rainy River

• Canterbury Rikki Forge, 24, 2IC 1060 cows, Eyrewell

• Southland Otago Chloe Mackle, 23, herd manager 500 cows, Heddon Bush.


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