Early bird entries open for awards
Entries for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are now being accepted at dairyindustryawards.co.nz until November 30, with early bird entries closing at midnight on November 9.
The awards encourage best practice and the sharing of excellence and also identify and promote the dairy industry’s future leaders. They enable people to progress through the awards as a person progresses through the dairy industry— from farm worker to herd manager, farm manager and contract milker to share milker.
2016 National Share Farmers of the Year Mark and Jaime Arnold were encouraged to enter the awards by their employers, farm owners Stuart and Sandra Cordell, who saw the awards as an opportunity to encourage their growth.
“Twenty years ago Stuart and I entered the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year competition for the first time and found it hugely beneficial to take the time to focus on our own business,” said Sandra. “You make time to analyse your farm and your business and what works best and what could work better.”
The Arnolds had been in the dairy industry for three and a half years when they came to work for the Cordells, in their first lower order share milking position.
They are now in their sixth season on the farm, and milk 500 cows on 167ha.
“Mark and Jaime are hugely passionate and enthusiastic. It wasn’t our intention to have 50/50 share milkers, but we put the proposal to them as it is important to encourage their growth,” said Sandra.
“We also encouraged them to attend DairyNZ Mark and Measure and attend the Fonterra Understand Your Cooperative Programme.
“NZ dairy farmers need to encourage the next generation and make opportunities as none of us are getting any younger,” noted Stuart.
“The benefits of Mark and Jaime entering the competition are that they are firing on all cylinders; they’re focused and interested in the dairy industry and our dairy farm, so it’s kept us on our toes as we support them.”
The Cordells believe the process of entering the competition and ‘putting yourself out there’ is the main gain, with great leaps in personal growth seen in Mark and Jaime during the path to winning the regional, then national Share Farmer competition.
The judging period wasn’t particularly stressful for the Cordells, who saw their role as farm owners as one of support and to provide all the information needed, including access to all records such as nutrient management reports, sustainable milk plans, fertiliser plans and rural professionals.
“It’s their chance to shine, so we just have the tools in place for them to claim, own and run with,” said Sandra.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are run in 11 regions by dedicated and passionate volunteers— many of whom are past winners.
The awards are supported by DairyNZ, De Laval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridan Energy, Ravensdown, Westpac and industry partner Primary ITO. For more information on entry criteria, see www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.