Awards pro­mote dairy in­dus­try

South Waikato News - - WAIKATO DAIRY AWARDS 2013 -

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.

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