Passionate, professional and committed
The 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners are smart people who are technologically savvy, care about people, the environment and cows and who are doing very well at dairy farming, according to national judges.
In front of nearly 550 people at Invercargill’s ILT Stadium, Dan and Gina Duncan from Northland were named the 2018 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Gerard Boerjan from Hawke’s Bay-Wairarapa became the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Simone Smail from Southland-Otago was announced the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.
They shared prizes worth over $202,000 . “This year there have been a few trends amongst the 33 finalists competing for honours in the awards programme,” General Manager Chris Keeping says.
“The finalists are acutely aware of the importance of biosecurity and health and safety with regards to both environmental issues, animal management and sustainability. It’s extremely positive to see such dedication to these issues within the industry.”
Share Farmer head judge Kevin McKinley, from DairyNZ, says the judges were impressed to discover how educated the entrants were, either tertiary educated or looking to upskill themselves.
“We’ve been from one end of the country to the other and we have met a stunning group of people excelling within the industry.”
The judges say Dan and Gina Duncan can be summed up in three words – passionate, professional and committed. They left secure jobs as registered valuers and made the career change to dairy farming, and they’re excelling at it. They’re the complete package.”
“Nothing has come easy for them, they’ve had to work hard” says Kevin. The Duncans are 50:50 Sharemilkers for the Pouto Topu A Trust milking 1020 cows on the 460ha Pouto property.
Both Dan and Gina, aged 32, hold Bachelor of Applied Sciences majoring in Rural Valuation and Management, with Dan holding a double major including Agriculture.
The former registered valuers have clear, realistic but challenging goals and gave an outstanding presentation which fl owed and kept the judges fully engaged. “They managed to get that information across to us in a way we could understand and follow it,” says Kevin.
In winning the national title and $49,700 in cash and prizes, the couple demonstrated strengths in pasture management and financial management.
They also won three merit awards; the PrimaryITO Interview Award, the Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award and the Westpac Business Performance Award.
The runners-up in the Share Farmer of the Year competition, Papakura 50:50 sharemilkers Chris and Sally Guy are described by the judges as traditional and solid who are cow and grass focused.
“They were very well organised, it’s a small organisation with not much labour employed,” says Chris. The couple are in their second season 50/50 sharemilking on Allan Guy’s 80ha Papakura property, milking 200 cows.
They also won the Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene merit award and $23,300 in cash and prizes. Putaruru contract milkers Steve Gillies and Amy Johnson, both aged 31 years, placed third in the competition, winning $13,000 in prizes.
The couple also the Federated Farmers Leadership merit award. The judges noted their fi nancial and analytical strengths and that they had outstanding
‘Excellent attention-to-detail and an all-rounder’ is how judges described the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year, Gerard Boerjan. “He takes a systems approach to the way he manages the farm, he has good systems in place to ensure nothing gets through the gaps,” says judge Mark Shadwick from DairyNZ.
“Everything is well documented, he covers health and safety to an exceptional level and his financial understanding is of the highest calibre.”
Gerard, aged 50 years, has successfully farmed in Portugal and Brazil and is currently Farm Manager for Trevor Hamilton on his 553ha Takapau property. He won $22,600 in cash and prizes.
Gerard also won the DairyNZ Employee Engagement and the Westpac Financial Management and Planning merit awards.
“He really cares about his staff, he cares about the people, the environment, his cows, what he grows and how he grows it, but he also understands very clearly that it’s a business he is running and he showed us that.” “Gerard and his partner Marlene are a strong team and she supports him completely,” says Mary.
“He has consciously chosen to pursue a career long-term in management, rather than farm ownership or contract milking,” says Dairy Manager head judge Mary Craw, from Marton. The Dairy Manager runner-up, Will Green from Canterbury, aged 32 years, also won the Ravensdown Feed Management Award.
Will is the farm manager for Kieran and Leonie Guiney on their 240ha, 830-cow farm at Fairlie and won $11,300 in prizes.
Southlander Jaime McCrostie, aged 32, was placed third and won $5500 in prizes and the PrimaryITO Power Play merit award. Jaime is the Farm Manager for her employer Steve Smith and farm owners AB Lime on the 370ha, 930-cow farm at Winton.
The judges describe Jaime as a ‘machine’, who is extremely capable, energetic, focused and operates great systems on-farm. Her excellent use of technology was commended.
The 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year, Simone Smail, presented herself very well, was at ease in the environment and gave considered, accurate answers. She has a quiet confi dence and is sincere, says Dairy Trainee head judge Chris Withy from Southland.
The Dairy Trainee runner-up, Donna McKinley, also won the Best Video Award presented by Streamliner. Donna is 2IC for Davison Trust Partnership milking 330 cows on a Central Plateau 116ha farm.
TThird placegetter Quinn Youngman, 21 years, works on David Dean’s 245ha, 600-cow farm in Mercer, He was was inspired by his Grandma to look at the dairy industry as his career. The judges described him as the quintessential young farmer who was a quiet achiever.
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