Clean sweep at NZ Dairy Industry Awards


Fonterra farmers impressed at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, winning all four 2021 main titles up for grabs, plus an NZDIA Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the recent awards evening in Hamilton the winners were:

· Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award – Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma

· NZ Share Farmer of the Year - Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj

· NZ Dairy Manager of the Year - Christopher Vila

· NZ Dairy Trainee of the Year - Ruth Connolly

· NZDIA Lifetime Contribution Award - Jeff Bolstad.

Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma

Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award

The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability. It also recognises those who’re respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

Waikato farmers Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma were this year’s winners, receiving the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

The judges said, “Pete and Ann are very well-rounded with a high-level of current knowledge, especially around climate change, their emissions profile and tracking that over time.

They are open to change and in all aspects of their farming business they look at what they do, analyse it and will do it differently if need be.”

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell presented the award and says Pete and Ann are exellent ambassadors for our industry.

“Pete, Ann and the other finalists are driving positive change in our industry and are great role models, producing milk that is backed by the quality and sustainability credentials that customers now expect and need. People want to know that their milk is coming from farmers that care for the environment, animals, people and communities.”

It’s very rewarding as we can see the improvements we make on-farm and there is a culture unlike any other industry.

manoj kumar & sumit kamboj, 2021 share farmers of the year 

Share Farmer of the Year

The 2021 Share Farmers of the Year, Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj are driven, professional and high-achieving siblings who benchmark excellence within the industry.

The brothers are 50/50 sharemilkers on Andrew and Monika Arbuthnott, Geoff Arends and Ester Romp’s 285ha, 460-cow Eketahuna property.

The judges were impressed with their on-farm presentation, which used drone footage from their family farm in Northern India to explain their history and where they are from. The brothers said they overcame the lack of a network by engaging more and more in dairy industry events.

Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj

“The New Zealand dairy farming system is totally different from back home in India and it really appeals to us,” they say. “It’s very rewarding as we can see the improvements we make on-farm and there is a culture unlike any other industry.”

Waikato sharemilkers and equity partners Reuben and Deb Connolly were second in the Share Farmer category with Central Plateau equity partners Andrea and Blair Muggeridge third.

Christopher Vila

Dairy Manager of the Year

The 2021 Dairy Manager of the Year, Christopher Vila, is a Farm Manager on the JA BE Turnwald Family Trust 103.8ha farm, milking 341 cows in Ohaupo.

Christopher was a veterinarian in the Philippines before he moved to New Zealand 13 years ago and began a career in dairying as a farm assistant. The judges

describe Christopher as a humble, competent and passionate dairy farmer who sets high standards for himself and staff.

“He’s completely engaged in his role but also understands the importance of getting off-farm and spending time with his wife and young daughter.”

The judges also noted the strong relationship he has built with his farm owners.

“Christopher is the first person the family has employed that is not a family member. He has earned their trust and respect and is growing with this opportunity”

Hayden Goodall from Bay of Plenty was second in the Dairy Manager competition with Diego Raul Gomez Salinas from Taranaki third.

Dairy Trainee of the Year

The 2021 Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ruth Connolly, is described by the judges as a polished and engaging person.

Ruth is Farm Assistant on the Rukuhia Holdings Ltd 259.6ha property at Ohaupo, milking 800 cows.

The judges described Ruth as articulate, considered and concise with a broad understanding of different industry issues. They also noted her passion for the dairy industry as well as her work ethic and trustworthiness.

Ruth Connolly

“Ruth is constantly pushing for perfection. She has a huge love and respect for the cows, the land and the people. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge which, coupled with specific and high-reaching goals, will stand her in good stead.

Dayna Rowe from Bay of Plenty was second in the Dairy Trainee category with Mattes Groenendijk from Canterbury/North Otago third.

Jeff Bolstad

NZDIA Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeff Bolstad, a Morrinsville farmer, was presented with a Lifetime Contribution Award, in recognition for his long service and contribution to the Dairy Industry Awards and wider agriculture sector.

NZDIA Trust Chair Natasha Tere says this is the first time this Award has been presented.

“It’s a prestigious honour that is awarded to an individual that has provided exceptional service to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards. We have chosen Jeff as he has been a bonding strength behind our organisation. Jeff has a pure love and passion for aspiring dairy farmers and has been a guiding light, a father figure and confidante to many while on their Awards journey.”