Best is ready for the rest
Everything is falling into place for recent Waikato regional farm manager winner Thomas White.
At just 23, the Putaruru local is stoked to have landed a spot in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards farm manager finals but admits the challenge was why he entered.
‘‘The fact I won was good and I am going to put my best foot forward for the Waikato but I didn’t enter it to win it [Waikato regionals],’’ Mr White said.
‘‘It was a good opportunity to benchmark myself against others, mix with the other good guys entering the competition, to network and get feedback from the judges about your strengths and weaknesses.’’
This is the first year the manager of his family partnership’s’ 112ha Whites Rd property has entered the competition and he rates the support of the rural community, family and past NZ Dairy winners highly for getting him to the nationals.
‘‘My neighbour and sort of mentor told me to enter and I thought I’d give it a crack,’’ he said.
‘‘There is a lot of help in the industry, guys are willing to help.’’
According to the fourth generation agriculturalist, you tend to work with the same people and can develop ‘‘tunnel vision’’, so he found the competition gave him a chance to stand back and take an outside look at how he was farming.
With farming in the blood, on finishing his sixth form studies Mr White took a two-year cadetship at the Central Hawkes Bay sheep, beef and deer training farm, Smedley Station, before completing a Diploma in Agriculture at Palmerston North Massey University.
Forever following opportunity, he then worked with a 600-cow unit for six months in the South Island before returning to the family farm as herd manager.
The ultimate goal of farm ownership is nearing reality, because Mr White has bought his first herd in preparation for next spring, when he will become sharemilker of the family’s newly purchased 85ha Dukeson Rd farm.
Mr White plans to continue to enjoy the journey of farming with his new fiancee and childhood friend Richelle Van Veen.
Mr White hosted a Farm Open Day this week to discuss his chosen practices for pasture, soil and other aspects of farm management.
He and the other regional winners are heading to Auckland this coming May for the National Awards at the Sky City Convention Centre.
ENJOYING THE JOURNEY: NZ Dairy Waikato Farm Manager of the Year, Thomas White is taking on the best of the country in May.