The 2021 NZ Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) Farm Manager of the Year Christopher Vila spoke at the 2022 awards night held recently in Christchurch. Here's his speech...
Two years later, upon completion of his degree, he started working as a farm assistant in Mossburn and is now farm manager on Mark and Carmen Hurst's 220ha, 800-cow property at Waimate.
His dedication to learn and grow as a dairy farmer is paying off. This month he was crowned the 2022 Dairy Manager of the Year.
Singh says he feels proud of his achievement.
"It is quite joyful and a mix of emotions," he told Dairy News.
Singh says he entered the NZ dairy industry because of career opportunities.
"The NZ dairy industry is different from my country's industry. Here the dairy industry provides a lot of career opportunities step-by-step and personal growth of knowledge and responsibilities.
"It provides a standard accommodation, healthy lifestyle and the freedom of working outside in an open environment with cows."
There were challenges, including overcoming the language barrier when Singh arrived from India.
"The biggest challenge was English language when I got here and then from moving from IT student to dairy farmer.
"I faced those challenges and found my way out."
Singh puts his success down to a great team, including his wife Ruby, supportive employers and his keen and positive attitude.
He says his employers have given him opportunities to run the farm.
"I treat the farm as it's my own, which helps me drive the farm in an efficient way and it helped me to be successful in the industry."
His future plans include becoming a sharemilker and then eventually owning his own farm.
Singh believes he has good advice for immigrants eyeing a future in NZ dairying.
“The industry provides a lot to learn, to do, great career opportunities, healthy lifestyle, work life balance and freedom to work and be successful,” he adds.