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Fill-in milking job opens door to management

Hayley Hoogendyk started milking cows as a fill-in job and liked it so much she’s now pursuing a career in dairying. She has recently been named Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year.
Fill-in milking job opens door to management

“Farming is now in the blood,” says 28-year-old Manawatu dairy manager Hayley Hoogendyk who’s forging an impressive career in the farming industry.

After farming for just a little over five years, she was judged the 2017 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year award amongst some tough competition.

She also collected merit awards for employee engagement, leadership, and power play.

It’s the third time Hayley has entered the awards.

She was runner-up for manager of the year last year and in 2014 was named Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“Winning this award means a lot,” she says. “It was hundreds of hours of hard work, so I really felt it had paid off. I felt really proud.

“I knew three of the four finalists in my area, I’m quite good friends with all of them. They’re all good farmers, so to take it out with them is pretty cool.”

It’s a career that might not have happened had it not been for a chain of events.

Her first career choice was accountancy, however she found her first university accounting paper boring and switched to a business degree, majoring in sports management.

For the next two years she worked in events management at Massey University until government funding was withdrawn and she found herself looking for a new job.

She took to milking cows until another events job came along, discovered farming was her calling, and has never looked back.

After progressing quickly from farm assistant to second-in-command roles, Hayley is now farm manager for Te Paratai Farms Ltd, on a 220-hectare (effective), 650-cow property at Rongotea, near Samson.

It’s owned by Roger and Noeline Taylor and Nigel Taylor “For two years now I’ve been managing a multimillion-dollar business,” says Hayley.

“There are not many industries where you can do that in three years from starting. It’s a very rewarding industry and the more you put into it, the more you can get out.”

She says that entering the dairy awards really put a focus on the farm as a whole.

It made her
and the farm-owners look at what they were doing and why, where they were falling short of key performance indicators for the industry averages, and what they were going to do about it.

Hayley has a a 2IC and two farm assistants reporting to her, and says she is passionate about human-resource management.

“I think staff development is one of the more rewarding parts of farm management.

As a manager it’s one of the areas you have most control over.

“The more you develop them, the easier your job is and the better the farm runs – they’re a pretty big asset.”

While lower-order sharemilking might be her next move within the next couple of years, she ultimately sees herself overseeing multiple farms along the human-resource side.

“I quite like giving young people their first opportunity as managers. I think we need to look after young people coming into the industry if we are to retain them.”

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