Awards promote dairy industry
By DANIEL WHITFIELD Te Aroha’s Stewart and Sue McKay have been nominated as Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year finalists in the Waikato Dairy Industry Awards.
Mr McKay grew up in the Bay of Plenty and attended Katikati College. Mrs McKay grew up in Whakatane, attending schools around the Waikato and Otorohanga.
They have always been involved with or surrounded by farming, and are now at home on Richard and Heather Colson’s farm near Te Aroha.
This year will be the McKays’ sixth year working in the dairy industry and they milk 205 cows on 62 hectares. Previously, Mr McKay worked for three years as an assistant manager in Otamarakau in the Bay of Plenty on a 600- cow farm and managed a 270- cow operation in Opotiki.
Mr and Mrs McKay said the awards are great at promoting the dairy industry and really do help farmers find paths through situations.
“We entered is because it’s a great networking potential. You get your name out there and progress through the industry,” Mrs McKay says.
The McKays entered two years ago, but were not among the winners. “Not many first-time entrants get through as finalists,” Mr McKay said.
In the first round of judging, they were marked on their overall farm management skills, environmental impacts of the farm, human resource management and financial issues, as well as their future aims.
Larger sharemilking opportunities or farm ownership is where Mr McKay and his family want to end up. “Working for yourself and being able to see your family more is what attracted us to farming,” he says.
Mrs McKay says farming is a rewarding business to be in and it is “always busy”.
The McKays have secured a 50/50 sharemilking contract on a 300- cow farm in Puriri, in the Thames Valley, starting on June 1.
For the awards, they face one more round of judging before the Waikato awards dinner.
FINALISTS: Te Aroha farmers Stewart and Sue McKay.