National Dairy Industry Awards
2016 NATIONAL FINAL RECAP
The winners and finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the opportunities for people to prosper in the country’s dairy industry. In front of 530 people at Wellington’s TSB Bank Arena last night, Mark and Jaime Arnold were named the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Thomas Chatfield became the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Nicholas Bailey was announced the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth nearly $170,000. “There was an overwhelmingly positive vibe among the 33 finalists competing for honours in the awards programme,” General Manager Chris Keeping says. “The finalists are actively looking for opportunities to progress and to grow their equity and position within the industry. It’s something that is really exciting to see and great to witness.” Share Farmer head judge and DairyNZ Senior Consulting Officer Abby Scott says the economic climate had meant the finalists had changed some of their management practices to ensure they better managed available resources. “People were really focusing on growing grass and supplement within their farm boundary and making sure they utilised it.
They were also more interested in profit per hectare rather than benchmarking milk production per cow. We also saw some really innovative ways in how people have reduced costs,” Mrs Scott says. “They were all very positive about the industry, about their business and their future equity growth. Their positivity rubbed off on you and was infectious. There’s no doubt they’re in the industry for the long haul.” She says some of the finalists were new to the industry, but have progressed rapidly due to the industry’s open, co-operative style with sharing information. “The information is there and, if you want to, you can get stuck in and get ahead quickly in this industry.” Dairy Manager head judge and Westpac Agribusiness Manager Hamish Taylor says there has been a noticeable trend in improving health and safety practices on farm. “These guys want their staff to get home safe and well.
They are identifying hazards, holding weekly meetings and ensuring staff and visitors sign in and out – there weren’t any clean books like we have seen in previous years.” 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 2016 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year winners, Mark and Jaime Arnold, took a huge pay cut when they launched their dairy farming career eight years ago. The former logging crew manager and teacher went on a single herd manager’s salary when they stepped onto a dairy farm for the first time. “They chose to go dairy farming as they thought it would be a good lifestyle for their family and they had a long term view of their future in it,” Mrs Scott says. In winning the national title and $52,500 in cash and prizes, the couple demonstrated strengths in finance, business and pasture management. “The level of understanding they demonstrated in their financial presentation to us was very impressive.
Their future growth plans are also impressive and they have a clear strategic plan of where they want to be and some clear goals.” The Arnolds are aged 48 and 35 years and are 50% sharemilking 500 cows for Mike and Sherynn Harold and Stuart and Sandra Cordell at Dannevirke. It is their fifth season on the farm and a great relationship with the farm owners led the owners to partner them as they progressed from lower order to 50% sharemilking. “Over the five years they’ve also developed a really impressive database of information they have recorded and they use that information well.” They have also analysed and completed budgets on more than 10 different progression opportunities. “Doing this had helped them make the decision that they were better off to stay where they are and to look to land ownership or an equity partnership as their next step.”
The runners-up in the Share Farmer of the Year competition, Dunsandel 50% sharemilkers Michael and Susie Woodward, are farming at an exceptionally high standard. The Woodwards won four merit awards in human resources, leadership, health and safety, and recording and productivity. “They employ really large teams and the majority of their staff have been recruited from overseas. They treat the staff as family members and celebrate little things, like birthdays or success, and made their team feel valued by those little things that they did,” Mrs Scott says. The Woodwards, aged 35 and 33 years, won $33,000 in cash and prizes. Southland 50% sharemilkers Callum and Hanna Stalker, aged 32 and 30 years, placed third in the competition, winning $14,000 in prizes. “The environment is a real passion of Hanna’s. Her understanding of how nutrients come onto the farm and leave the farm was pretty exceptional.” Judges are confident the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year, Thomas Chatfield, will go a long way in the industry. “He enjoys what he is doing and has the attitude and personality that will take him where he wants to go,” Mr Taylor says. The 30-year-old former physiotherapist is managing a 500-cow Whakatane farm owned by Bruce and Judy Woods and won $27,000 in prizes. In 2013 he won the Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year title in his first season in the dairy industry. “Thomas showed and expressed opinions about the farming system he manages and is passionate about what he is doing. He is making a tangible difference to the business he is involved with and was engaged with the owner.
He has a capable team working with him and was working with the team on a succession plan, should he move on. “He can see massive opportunities in the dairy industry,” Mr Taylor says. The Dairy Manager runner-up, Hamish Kilpatrick, aged 23 years, had clear goals, a thought out plan and good mentors. The Culverden farm manager won $10,500 in prizes. Martinborough herd manager Lance Graves, aged 26, placed third and won $6000 in prizes. The former diesel mechanic had strong personal financial planning as well as good mentors. Changes to the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year entry criteria are a success, head judge and Hawkes Bay dairy farmer Nikki Halford says. “The entrants were all very even on paper, in terms of the length they have been in the industry and the roles and qualifications they all hold. They were all very similar, so the changes that have been made to the entry criteria are sussed and that was wonderful to see,” she says. The trainee competition is targeted at those aged 18 to 25 years with up to three years full-time experience in the industry. They can hold a qualification no higher than a NZQA Level 4.
The 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year, Nicholas Bailey, is able to articulate ideas on some of the issues facing the industry. “He stood out. He talked about wanting to get some consistency in employment standards across the industry in terms of rosters, in retaining staff and understanding what it takes.” Mrs Halford says he is mature and has a good balance of activities off the farm, including refereeing football and being active in young farmers. Mr Bailey, aged 21 years, won $10,500 in prizes and is 2IC on Bryan Tucker’s 330ha Greytown farm milking 950 cows. It is the second time he has entered the awards and he plans to progress to a managing role. He describes himself as a hard-working, outgoing and driven person that is willing to learn and likes to achieve positive results. The Dairy Trainee runner-up, Karl Wood, has strong practical skills and good general knowledge. The 21-year-old Feilding 2IC won $5500 in prizes. Placing third, Olivia Wade is full of exuberance and passion for the industry. Ms Wade is a 23-year-old Atiamuri assistant manager and won $2500 in prizes.