OPINION: If you want to see a role model (or two), just look at NZ Dairy Industry Awards winners Damian and Jane Roper.
Originally from South Africa, Shaun holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science and Diploma in Agribusiness Management. He is also a qualified LIC AB Technician. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Massey University and has worked in various rural professional roles.
The couple see their combined qualifications, backgrounds and experiences as a strength for their business. “We are able to draw on them to make good decisions at every level.”
“Our business is in a good position for growth, with clear goals and an action plan that allows for the ability to take opportunities as they arise.”
Their goals include herd and farm ownership. “We would also like to have a dairy farm that is powered completely by renewable energy from dairy by-products.”
Third place went to Elizabeth and Lyndon Grant, 50:50 sharemilkers for Ross and Susan Duncan’s 195ha farm at Ashburton, where they milk 700 cows. Dairy Manager of the Year is Matt Redmond, the farm manager on Landsend, a 232ha, 830-cow property at Culverden owned by Pahau Flats Dairy Ltd.
Redmond holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) majoring in Agricultural Management and Rural Valuation from Lincoln University. He entered the dairy industry four years ago and has worked for the past two as a manager.
Redmond sees the training and development his employers put into their staff as standing him in good stead for progression within the business.
Dairy Trainee of the Year is Nicola Blowey, an Assistant Herd Manager on Kieran and Leonie Guiney’s 600-cow, 175ha property at Fairlie, whose manager, Will Green, won the regional Farm Manager of the Year title last year.
“Seeing Will Green do so well last year inspired me to enter and seek out new information and increase and consolidate my knowledge,” said Blowey.
“Being part of an industry that fulfils so many key roles for society is very special and it is the relevance of agriculture to every one of us that is so rewarding.
“The range of knowledge and skills you build working in the industry, and the variety of jobs we do and situations we face each season is really exciting.”
Blowey is secretary of Mackenzie District Young Farmers Club and is organising a Fairlie Community Ball to raise money for rural mental health.
“Being where I am today is something I’m really proud of. Two and a half years ago I knew next to nothing about strict grass-based systems and now I deal with the day-to-day management of 600 cows on quite a challenging dryland farm. I am really excited to progress further and achieve more.”
Young women dominated the trainee category, the second and third place getters being: Claire Ritchie, 2IC on another Theland Purata Farm Group property near Hororata, and Amy Charman, 2IC on a farm at Westerfield near Ashburton.