Pride in new generation
Two past winners in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards remain active as they enjoy seeing others succeed in the dairy industry – and it keeps them on their toes.
“I just get a real kick out of seeing people trying to do their best and the new generation coming through,” says Rex Kane, 2004 Southland Sharemilker of the Year with wife Roslynne.
Dave Davis, 2001 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year with wife Julie, says they have been to many places through the awards and it’s “quite cool” to see people succeed in their career.
Following their successes, both couples became active in the awards. The Kanes convened the Southland regional competition and Mr Kane spent three years on the national organising committee. “We got just as much out of convening as we did entering.”
Mr Kane enjoyed being on the national committee, which enabled him to witness excellence and progression within the industry. He has also judged in Southland, Otago and Canterbury, always learning in the process. “It might be just a little thing and you shake your head and think ‘why didn’t I think of that’. We used to look up to the guys judging and think we will never get to that stage, and before we knew it, we had people ringing up for advice.”
The Davis’ entered five times before succeeding. “Each year we would get feedback from judges and go to field days and see what the judges could see in the winners. We were in hook, line and sinker.”
After their win, Mrs Davis went on the national committee and is now the awards’ national administration manager. Mr Davis is a judge, including two years as national judge for the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year. This voluntary role required two weeks on the road visiting regional winners. “It was a big commitment, but was a great experience.”
Mr Davis encourages all entrants to try again if they are unsuccessful. “Entering keeps you on track with a lot of things... It’s not just about winning. It probably makes you stronger.”
The awards provide opportunities to learn, to present, to meet people and to gain recognition. The first year, they targeted just one merit awards, around best herd records, and won.