Farm trainee `thrives off progression’

Auckland-Hauraki Farm Trainee of the Year Quinn Youngman went on to place third at the national awards.

At 21, Quinn Youngman is already a 2IC and a name to reckon with having been picked as Farm Trainee of the Year for Auckland/Hauraki and placing third at the national level in that same category in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Last June, he started work as a herd manager on David Dean’s 245ha 600-cow farm at Mercer before rising to the 2IC role. His high flying dairying career is all the more remarkable given Quinn’s urban background.

He was born in Auckland, grew up in Tauranga and didn’t get his first taste of farming until age 15, as a relief milker.

The inspiration to dip his toes into dairying came from his late grandmother, Judy Sturmfels, who had spent a decade share milking in her younger years.

“I started talking to Mum about it and how I was interested in giving it a go and so she organised me to go relief milking; surprisingly, the farmer let me do that even though I hadn’t set foot on a farm before!” Quinn says.

At 17, he landed his first full time farm position and has since established himself as a natural hard worker and high achiever in the dairying scene.

“He has a really good work ethic and always goes that extra mile,” says Dave.

“For example, when we had a bad wind storm here a month or so ago he went out in the middle of the night to make sure the covers were on the PK.

I wasn’t asking or expecting him to do that and he only told me about it a couple of days later.

He pretty much knows all the ropes but if he’s got questions about anything then he will always ask.”

Dave encouraged Quinn to enter the Farm Trainee of the Year awards round because he knew it would open doors for Quinn and enable him to progress his career.

“I don’t think he quite understood his own ability when he came here. I like to see good people succeed and go forward. We have a few guys contract milking who have worked here.

Now he has these awards, Quinn’s C.V. will go to the top of the pile when he goes for other jobs. He’s got a lot more confidence too.”

According to Dave, other farm employees have been inspired by Quinn’s example. “It shows them there’s a pathway.

You can start as a farm assistant and work up – there’s plenty of opportunity in this industry for motivated people.”

Quinn put a lot of preparation into his awards interviews, noting that he’d pushed himself harder at each successive stage.

Looking ahead, his goal is to progress straight -to contract milking rather than moving to a farm manager’s role.

He hopes his recent success will stand him in good stead. Dairying is definitely a career he would recommend to other young people who are prepared to work hard and push themselves.

“Personally, I thrive off progression and I’m always trying to make that next step even better,” Quinn says.

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