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Winners of 2018 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards announced

The 2018 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners hope the win will help them to achieve their future farming goals of farm ownership or equity partnership.

Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham say that entering the dairy industry awards enabled them to learn about themselves and how much they actually know. “We don’t give ourselves enough credit,” say the couple. “Meeting industry professionals who can guide us, our business and career, means we can recognise our strengths and improve our weaknesses, ensuring we are on the right track to achieving greater things.”

The couple were named the 2018 Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the TSB Hub in Hawera last night, and won $13,111 in prizes. The other major winners were the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year James Holgate, and the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Andrew Trolove.

Owen and Hollie believe their strength lies in their team approach to business. “We work together well, regardless of the task. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, when to lend a hand and when to step back,” they say. “We make a good team both outside on the farm and inside doing accounts!”

The couple are in their second season herd-owning sharemilking on Murray and Edna Saxton’s 56ha Patea property, milking 180 cows. Hollie (25) holds a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in Management and has completed two papers towards the PrimaryITO Diploma. Owen (26) has studied all stages of PrimaryITO, and began his career in the dairy industry at the age of 16 as a Farm Assistant.

Playing squash and golf gives the couple time away from the farm and an opportunity to relax. “We are both members of the local Young Farmers club and enjoy attending touch rugby games or events,” says Hollie.

Future farming goals include an equity partnership or farm ownership of a 250 cow farm, and to continue to improve their business efficiency. “We know our goal is a massive one but we try to work hard and smarter each day to get us one step closer,” they say. “We have strong determination and drive to achieve our goals, because we know the end result will be very satisfying.”

Runner-up in the Taranaki Share Farmer of the Year competition was Conna Smith, who won $6,070 in prizes.

The Patea 50:50 Sharemilker works on Robert and Verna Bourke’s 58ha property, where she milks 194 cows.

Conna began her farming career six year ago on her family’s farm after time spent in Perth where she and her husband worked in the mining industry. “I operated a 150T Dump Truck and Wheel Dozer for six years, before returning to the farm which has been in our family for 145 years.”

Conna (33) says she loved the farming lifestyle she grew up in and knew she wanted that lifestyle for her children too. “I enjoy the challenges of farming, caring for my cows and providing high quality products to local and global markets.”

Third place in the 2018 Taranaki Share Farmer category went to Benjamin Abbot who is a 29% Sharemilker on Alistair, Stephen and Imelda Abbot’s 92ha Hawera property, where he milks 317 cows. Benjamin won $3,610 in prizes.

The first-time entrant holds a Bachelor in Agricultural Science from Lincoln University and had spoken to previous entrants who had reflected how beneficial it was to enter and how much of what they learnt was able to be applied on the farm. “I grew up around farming, and love the variety of tasks farming offers. Every day is different.”

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.

Winner of the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year competition is 26-year-old James Holgate, who was the Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year Runner-Up in 2014. He won $7,438 in prizes.

James is currently Herd Manager for Tony and Lorraine Lash, on their 130ha Midhurst property “My first experience of farm life was with my first job as a Farm Assistant when I was 18,” says James.

“Coming from a town background has presented some challenges however I really enjoy farming, I’m always learning and no day is the same. I enjoy the lifestyle and industry.”

James believes the strengths of the business lies in a well-developed farm. “This allows more time to focus on stock and pasture rather than repairs and maintenance,” he explains.

“We also have a strong well-bred herd with better replacements and improved genetics.”

Next year James and his partner Tracy will be contract milkers on the same farm, and would like to be 50:50 sharemilkers in five years on a similar size farm.

22-year-old Hawera Senior Farm Assistant Matthias Hipp, placed second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $4,070 in prizes. Matthias works on Steve and Maria Poole’s 800-cow, 210ha property.

He entered the Awards because the Dairy Manager category was opened up and he became eligible to enter. “I thought it would be a great learning experience and a good way to network and meet like-minded people within the industry.”
Matthias holds a Bachelor of Agri-Commerce majoring in Farm Management from Massey University and says earning his degree is something he is really proud of achieving. “Learning more hands-on skills such as treating cows and fencing are also rewarding, especially when you can see the results of what you are doing,” he says.

Third in the Dairy Manager Competition was Carl Hooker, who won $2,470 in prizes. Carl (45) is currently Dairy Operations Manager on John and Roslyn Weir’s Toko property and wants to be an asset to the industry. “For me to progress up the ladder, I needed to make sure I was worthy of the next step and the Dairy Industry Awards seemed like the best environment for this to happen.”

The former Youth Worker and his wife chose to return to farming to raise their children in the environment. “We wanted them to learn how to look after the land, the animals and each other in a safe and loving community.”

The winner of the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year competition, comes from a dairy farming family and grew up on the farm he manages now, and entered the Dairy Industry Awards to benchmark himself against others in the industry.

Andrew Trolove spent his childhood summers bale stacking and relief milking for his father. Having spent time as a sales rep for an agriculture company and travelling overseas, he returned to the family farm last year. “Being on a family farm, I wish to prove to myself that I have the ability to succeed on my own merits,” he says.

“I’m really proud of making it through my first spring on the farm, which was also the wettest on record, followed by a very challenging dry summer,” says Andrew. “The farming weather conditions have been the hardest this region has ever faced.”

The 24-year-old is Farm Manager for Mark Trolove, on his 210ha, 610-cow farm in Opunake. He won $7,208 in prizes.

Herd Manager Michael Gilligan, aged 20 years, placed second in the Dairy Trainee competition, and won $2,620 in prizes. Michael works on Kevin and Diane Goble’s 160ha property milking 550 cows.

Chayce Bailey was third. The 19-year-old is Farm Manager on Neil and Kim Bailey’s 52ha Opunake farm. He won $2,120 in prizes.

The Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on 28 March 2018 at 71 Manawapou Road, RD 2 Patea where Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year, Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham, sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, James Holgate and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Andrew Trolove. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Benjamin Abbott
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Benjamin Abbott
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Kelsey Espin
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Conna Smith
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Kieran and Jodie Orchard
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• FMG Most Promising Entrant – Stacey Deacon
• SHARE Real Estate Taranaki Engagement Award – Carl Hooker
• I.S. Dam Lining Ltd Leadership Award – Hayden Fowles
• ADM New Zealand Ltd Feed Management Award – James Holgate
• Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award – Carl Hooker
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award - James Holgate
• PrimaryITO Power Play Award – Matthias Hipp
• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – James Holgate

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Bayleys Real Estate Taranaki Most Promising Entrant Award - Georgia Cunningham
• PGG Wrightson Livestock Stratford Farming Knowledge Award – Michael Gilligan
• Primo Wireless Communication & Engagement Award – Amanda Thoumine
• NZME – The Country Community & Industry Involvement Award – Andrew Trolove
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award - Andrew Trolove


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