Three top titles for Fonterra farmers at 2018 NZ Dairy Awards
Fonterra farmers have a long history of success in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and that tradition continued at the 2018 national finals on May 12.
In front of nearly 550 people at Invercargill’s ILT Stadium, Fonterra farmers won two of the three main titles as well as a brand new award – the Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award, as the name suggests created and sponsored by Fonterra Farm Source.
Presented by Fonterra Chairman John Wilson, the winners of the new award were Matamata farmers Wynn and Tracy Brown.
Open to all New Zealand dairy farmers, the award recognises farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainable dairying, are ambassadors for the industry and are respected by their farming peers and their community.
Wynn and Tracy own a 320 hectare 700-cow farm near Matamata, with a further 30 hectares leased from their neighbour. Their property bears the name “Tiroroa”, which means ‘extensive view’ or ‘view to the future’.
“Our aim is to run an economically and environmentally sustainable dairy farming business, maximising production while minimizing footprint”, say the couple. “We like to take the meaning of Tiroroa into consideration with all our decision-making.”
“Sustainable farming is about ‘walking the walk’ not just ‘talking the talk’. It’s about what you do when no-one is looking,” say the Browns.
“It’s also about not just living for the here and now, but about thinking for the future and those that will come after you.”
Fonterra Chairman John Wilson says “the Co-op and our farmers take their responsibilities to their communities, animals and the environment seriously and they demonstrate this in the work they do every day. The Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award is an opportunity to recognise this. Wynn and Tracy epitomise these values and they are great ambassadors, able to lead and share the best-practice processes and systems with our farmers and our industry.”
With 29 finalists from a possible 33 for the other three main awards, Fonterra farmers were sure to put in a good showing. That proved to be true with Northland’s Dan and Gina Duncan winning the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year title and Takapau’s Gerard Boerjan named NZ Dairy Manager of the Year.
Dan and Gina are 50:50 sharemilkers for the Pouto Topu A Trust milking 1020 cows on the 460 hectare Pouto property. Both hold Bachelor of Applied Sciences majoring in Rural Valuation and Management, with Dan holding a double major including Agriculture.
The judges said Dan and Gina can be summed up in three words – passionate, professional and committed. “They epitomise living the dream. They left secure jobs as registered valuers and made the career change to dairy farming, and they’re excelling at it. They’re the complete package.”
The couple have clear, realistic but challenging goals and gave an outstanding presentation which flowed and kept the judges fully engaged. “They managed to get that information across to us in a way we could understand and follow,” says Share Farmer head judge Kevin McKinley.
“They have a good work life balance, they still work hard but they find the time to pursue interests off-farm such as sport, and time with family and friends,” says Kevin.
Co-op farmers dominated the Share Farmer category with Fonterra suppliers also winning the other podium places. Papakura 50:50 sharemilkers Chris and Sally Guy were second with Putaruru contract milkers Steve Gillies and Amy Johnson third.
Fonterra suppliers also scooped first, second and third placings in the Dairy Manager of the Year category, with Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa representative Gerard Boerjan taking the title.
Gerard has successfully farmed in Portugal and Brazil and is currently Farm Manager for Trevor Hamilton on his 553 hectare Takapau property.
Dairy Manager head judge Mary Craw says Gerard targets excellence in everything he is involved with.
“He has great experience as a manger of people, a great passion for working with people in a large team environment and excellent attention to detail,” she says. “Everything is well documented, he covers health and safety to an exceptional level and his financial understanding is of the highest calibre.
“He really cares about his staff, the environment, his cows, what he grows and how he grows it, but he also understands very clearly that it’s a business he is running and he showed us that.”
Will Green from Canterbury was second in the Dairy Manager category with Southlander Jaime McCrostie third.
Capping off a great night for Co-op suppliers was Quinn Youngman winning third place in the Dairy Trainee of the Year competition.
Quinn works on David Dean’s 245 hectare, 600-cow farm in Mercer with the judges describing him as the quintessential young farmer who is a quiet achiever.
The New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year winner was Simone Smail from Southland with Central Plateau's Donna McKinley second.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy and Ravensdown, along with industry partner PrimaryITO.