Best is ready for the rest

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By LIBBY KIS­SICK

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.

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