Being a part of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has enriched Nick and Bec Simmonds’ dairy farming business.
The couple was named 2011 Central Plateau Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year at an awards function at the Rotorua Events Centre last night. They won $17,000 in cash and prizes.
The 2011 Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year, Scott O’Brien, and 2011 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jemma Lourie, were also named.
It was the third time the Simmonds had entered the awards. “Entering the competition has brought extra richness to our business. By this we mean it has honed our direction by deeper exploration of our future goals, boosted our enthusiasm for our business and the industry, and helped identify holes in our business. It has given us areas to improve and the knowledge and incentive to find the best ways to fix them.”
The couple moved from the UK in 2000 to pursue their dairy farming career and is currently 50% sharemilking 700 cows for CHH HBH Ltd at Tokoroa. They plan to double the size of their sharemilking business by 2012 and purchase their own 450-cow farm within five years.
Their strengths are team work and organisation.
“We have systems in place for all aspects of our business, which ensures everyone knows what they should be doing, how it should be done, and by when. Being this organised allows us down time with family and friends and keeps us fresh enough, mentally and physically, to look for opportunities and improvements that will make our business better,” the Simmonds say.
Young Mamaku 50% sharemilker John Butterworth, aged 23, was runner-up in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest winning $6300. Third place went to Waikite Valley lower order sharemilkers Joel McKay and Angela Brown, who won $5600 in cash and prizes.
The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.
The 2011 Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year, Scott O’Brien, aged 28, is managing a 1040-cow farm for Opepe Trust, near Taupo. He won $5400 in cash and prizes.
Mr O’Brien says he entered the awards for the first time to network and demonstrate his passion for the industry. “I love my job. It is a career that I look forward to progressing and continually challenging myself.”
Within five years he plans to be 50% sharemilking or a farm supervisor.
“A strength of the farm business is its potential for expansion through herd size and using modern technology. People are also the key to the successful operation of this business.”
Reporoa farm managers Brady Mitchell, 26, and Aaron Karaha, 31, were second and third respectively in the competition, winning $3750 and $2000.
The Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jemma Lourie, aged 26, is an assistant on a 780-cow Mangakino farm owned by Wairarapa Moana Incorporation. She won $5500 in prizes.
“I see the dairy trainee contest as a great networking opportunity to meet other like-minded people who are driven to follow a dream.”
Ms Lourie has been dairy farming for five years and plans to manage large herd dairy farms until an equity partnership or sharemilking opportunity presents.
Taupo farm assistant Joshua Reid, 23, was second and won $500. Third place and $250 went to 29-year-old Todd Halliday, a Reporoa farm assistant.
All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $130,000 in Queenstown on May 14.
Central Plateau Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Nick and Bec Simmonds will host a field day on April 6, while Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year Scott O’Brien will host a field day on the Taupo farm he manages on March 30. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
Blackman Spargo Legal Audit Award – Joel McKay & Angela Brown
Piako Tractors Dairy Drive Award – John Butterworth
Strettons Chartered Accountants Best 1st Time Entrant Award – John Butterworth
DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Joel McKay & Angela Brown
Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Moses & Matewai Beckham
Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – John Butterworth
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Joel McKay & Angela Brown
Westpac Business Performance Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
Farm Manager Merit Awards:
The Vet Club Animal Health and Husbandry Award – Robert & Bev Urquhart
Central Plateau Farm Services Plant Care and Attention Award – Stewart Porter
DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Aaron Karaha
RD1 Farm Management Award – Scott O’Brien
Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Brady Mitchell
Dairy Trainee Merit Award:
Farming Knowledge Merit Award – Jemma Lourie