15 March 2018
A strong husband and wife team have been announced as major winners in the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards.
Tim and Melissa Parsons were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua last night. The other big winners were Colin Tremain, who was named the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, and Donna McKinley, the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year.
The couple, aged 32 and 33 years, are Contract Milking 920 cows on Trinity Lands’ Tokoroa 330ha property and won $17,180 in prizes.
Tim began farming 15 years ago as a farm assistant. Melissa joined him seven years ago and they have progressed progressing through the industry to their current contract milking position which they have held since 2015.
Tim and Melissa are proud they were runner-ups in the 2015 Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year.
“As a couple, we both have strengths in different areas, and working together we can help each other and use our different knowledge bases to improve the business,” the couple say.
“The strength of our business is the staff we have working for us, because we could not run the farm without them.”
Their goal is to own a once-a-day dairy farm which will allow a rural lifestyle for their three young children and for them to continue to work outside with the land and the animals.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, New Zealand Farm Source and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO.
Runners-up in the Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year competition were Sam and Kate Moore, who won $7,665 in prizes.
The couple are 50:50 Sharemilkers for Menso and Tina Van Der Laan on their 100ha Reporoa property, milking 300 cows.
With a background in Mechanical Engineering in the Resources Sector in Australia and New Zealand, Sam relishes the hands-on, physical and mental challenges that farming brings.
“The opportunity for career progression is endless, the dairy farming community is so supportive, it’s enjoyable, and it’s the lifestyle I want for my family.
The winner of the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year competition, Colin Tremain, has entered the Awards three times previously and says benefits include personal planning, presentation skills and building his industry profile.
“The Awards process make me stop and think about what I am doing and why I am doing it,” says Colin. “It helps fill in a lot of gaps.”
Colin is a licensed builder and spent seven years in the building industry before returning to the industry he grew up in. He was runner-up in the 2017 Central Plateau Dairy Manager competition and is currently studying towards a Diploma of Agribusiness Management. He won $8,995 in prizes.
Colin is the Farm Manager for the Tumunui Lands Trust 982ha, 1750-cow farm at Rotorua. The 30-year-old is proud of his career progression and the development of Tumunui South into a sustainable profitable dairy unit.
“Tumunui is huge, it’s developing, it’s a mind game,” says Colin. “On a good day, it is unbeatable, there is nothing like it. On a bad day, it is unbeatable, you will not win.”
“Tumunui values the people who work in the business. It is set up to be diverse and to create opportunities both for the business and for the people who work in it.”
46-year-old Mangakino Farm Manager Vanessa Schedewy placed second and won $3,770 in prizes. Vanessa works on Steve and Donna Hines’ 273ha farm, milking 670 cows.
“Entering the Awards has been excellent for personal growth and development and building my confidence,” says Vanessa. “It’s a good way to compare my performance with other farmers.”
“Working full-time as a single mum has been a challenge at times, and I’m really proud that I’ve become a farm manager and am running a successful farm business for the farm owners.”
Vanessa credits her team as a strength of the business. “We have a strong team culture and value their contribution and we encourage personal growth,” she says. “We use technology to stay at the forefront of our industry and to push productivity.”
Third place in the Dairy Manager category went to Nicholas Mitchell. The 30-year-old Assistant Manager on Bryan and Tesha Gibson’s 170ha Reporoa property, milking 440 cows. Bryan and Tesha were the 2008 Central Plateau Sharemilkers of the Year.
Nicholas says entering the Awards for a second time has been good for him as it has identified areas that required improvement and the feedback from judges was invaluable.
“It’s good for me to do this type of activity because it is outside my comfort zone, and having two people come out and judge me was really good,” he says. “This competition is perfect because I get feedback, which you don’t normally receive.”
It’s second time lucky for the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Donna McKinley, who was runner-up in the 2017 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee category and says she gained so much personally from just entering last year.
“I can’t think of anything I didn’t benefit from! I received some very valuable feedback from the judges and have been working on that from last year,” Donna explains.
“Every single person you meet during this competition will, at some point, make a valuable contribution to your career or business.
Donna is 2IC for Davison Trust Partnership milking 330 cows on the 116ha farm. Her future goals include farm management by 2020. She won $6,050 in prizes.
“My long-term goal is to have land and herd ownership and I have financial plans in place to ensure this happens,” says Donna.
Donna is a motorsport enthusiast and qualified mechanic and in her spare time the 22-year-old is pit crew for Liam Honnor Drift, the youngest drifter in New Zealand. She is also Chair of the Tihoi Young Farmers club and enjoys riding horses.
“Being a woman in our industry will always have its challenges, but I have learnt how to use my strengths,” says Donna. “I have also gained a lot of resilience and recognition of my own mental well-being, as well as others around me.”
“I am able to recognise any signs of depression and anxiety, and with support from friends and family I’m able to keep it under control. Focusing on my end goals and keeping myself busy helps!”
Donna is proud of progressing through the industry as quickly as she has. “I’ve been given wonderful opportunities by previous and current employers to achieve this.”
Runner-up in the Dairy Trainee competition was Chris Horwell, who is 2IC on Stu and Anne Koopal’s 211ha, 590-cow farm in Rotorua. He won $2,320 in prizes.
The 22-year-old spent two years at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, where he was awarded Top Dairy Student for both the Level 3 and Level 4 courses. “I always knew I would have to make the most of that experience if I wanted a head-start in my career,” says Chris.
A keen hockey player, Chris wanted a career that kept him well away from an office and out in the fresh air. “I’m genuinely passionate about the dairy industry and I love working in the outdoors and caring for animals,” he says. “There’s no better feeling than seeing the herd grazing happily on a warm day with the sun on your back.”
Third place in the Dairy Trainee competition went to 21-year-old 2IC Toni Schnuriger who won $1,870 in prizes. She works for the Wairarapa Moana Incorporation Farm 11 on the 333ha, 960-cow farm in Mangakino.
“I feel the competition has hugely increased my confidence,” says Toni. “It allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and learn a lot about myself throughout the process.”
The Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on March 28 at 184b Poaka Road Tokoroa where Share Farmers of the Year, Tim and Melissa Parsons, contract milk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Colin Tremain and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Donna McKinley. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Nick & Jess Groot
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Sam & Kate Moore
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Tim & Melissa Parsons
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Tim & Melissa Parsons
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Tim & Melissa Parsons
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Tim & Melissa Parsons
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Tim & Melissa Parsons
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Sam & Kate Moore
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• Strettons Employee Engagement Award – Vanessa Schedewy
• James and Son Feed Management Award – Colin Tremain
• I.S. Dam Lining Ltd Leadership Award – Glen Limmer
• Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award – Colin Tremain
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Nicholas Mitchell
• PrimaryITO Power Play Award – Bevan Samuels
• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Colin Tremain
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Bayleys Real Estate Most Promising Entrant Award – Tessa Inskeep
• T H Enterprises Ltd Farming Knowledge Award – Donna McKinley
• B.O.P. Regional Council Communication & Engagement Award – Chris Horwell
• Rotorua Lakes Council Community & Industry Involvement Award - Tessa Inskeep
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Toni Schnuriger