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2021 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards Winners Announced

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2021 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards Winners Announced

24 March 2021

The 2021 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winner says he wants to contribute positively to the reputation of the New Zealand dairy industry. 

Sam Howard was named the 2021 Manawatū Share Farmer of the Year at the region’s annual awards announced at Awapuni Function Centre on Wednesday night. The other major winners were Karl Wood, the 2021 Manawatū Dairy Manager of the Year, and Josh Wilkinson, the 2021 Manawatū Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Sam won $10,465 in prizes and a clean sweep of eight merit awards. He is 50/50 sharemilking for John Gardner, on his 80ha, 240-cow Palmerston North property. Sam was also named the 2016 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year.

The future of the dairy industry looks bright to Sam, who chose farming as his career as it gave him the ability to work outside in the natural environment, with the land and animals.

“I provide one of the most essential human needs – food,” he says. “We provide a high-quality, incredibly nutritious food at a lower environmental footprint than anywhere else in the world.”

Sam holds a Master of Applied Economics and Intermediate/Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management, both from Massey University, and has gained the PrimaryITO Dairy Production Management Level 5. Prior to entering the dairy industry, Sam was an economist with DairyNZ.

Sam credits a high-level of communication with his farm owner John and farm consultant Brian Clarke as a strength of the business. “We are able to easily agree on future priorities.”

Being a family business and working together well with complementary skills is also a strength, with Sam’s wife Ellie and his parents Lindsay and Kerry also helping. “Everyone is aligned in working towards the success of the business.

“Global consumers will continue to seek out quality nutrition with reduced environmental impacts and over time will become more willing to pay for those attributes,” says Sam.

“It would be nice to have a better balance in mainstream media reporting of the dairy industry, regarding both environmental successes and the nutritional attributes of dairy products.”

“New Zealand farmers are proud of their legacy of leaving the land in a better state after their time, and are stepping up to meet environmental challenges.”

Future farming goals include owning a property with both a dairy and equine aspect, and plan to progress towards this goal through large-scale sharemilking if they find the right opportunity.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and Westpac along with industry partner DairyNZ.

The 2021 Manawatū Dairy Manager of the Year is Karl Wood who won $7,675 in prizes and four merit awards.

Karl has entered the Awards twice previously and was runner-up in the 2018 Manawatū Dairy Manager of the Year category. He won 2016 Manawatū Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Karl says entering the Awards has expanded his networks and contacts within the dairy industry. “It’s provided me with job opportunities and continued my development and understanding of the many variables which impact on farming, as well as enabling me to not just set goals, but monitor them.”

Karl is the Farm Manager on Northbrook Enterprises Ltd 115ha, 290-cow property in Palmerston North.

Karl believes a large support block which provides different options is a strength of the business. “It takes the pressure off the dairy platform and gives the ability to graze off cows if needed, and harvest grass supplement.”

“The fact we rear all our calves, with no bobbies, is also a strength as it provides extra income for the business during low pay-out times.”

Karl enjoys the peace and calmness of being with the cows at the start of the day. “It’s something you can’t replicate,” he says.”

“During the hard times, my motivation comes from my family and thinking positively about what has been achieved already.”

Karl believes the New Zealand dairy industry is focused on being a world leader in dairying. “This is going to happen through constant improvements to the environment, stock management and sustainability.”

“I see myself as being part of this, starting with taking steps forward on my farm and contributing to the wider farming community through participation, discussions and leadership.”

Future farming goals included a 50/50 sharemilking role in the next three to five years through building stock numbers and breeding quality cattle.

Karl identifies a work/life balance as really important and off-farm he enjoys playing football three times a week, attending Young Farmers events and playing golf whenever he can.

“I enjoy spending time with my partner Jess, and our dogs,” he says. “A work/life balance keeps you mentally fresh and you can also support your friends.”

Foxton Farm Manager Mahraaz Hussein placed second in the Dairy Manager category, winning $ 2,625 in prizes and one merit award.

Mahraaz manages Pāmu Farms of New Zealand 310-cow, 154ha property and entered the Awards to meet other people, build networks and benchmark his business.

Prior to entering the dairy industry in 2015, Mahraaz was a qualified welder and also worked in web design.

“I really enjoy caring for animals and the rural lifestyle that dairy industry gives me.”

Mahraaz identifies people as one of the biggest strengths of the business. “One of Pāmu’s values is ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’, which I believe is very important,” he says.

The 2021 Manawatū Dairy Trainee of the Year is Josh Wilkinson, who is Production Manager on Ross Gordon’s 260ha, 500-cow Foxton farm. He won $5,825 in prizes and a clean sweep of four merit awards.

Josh entered the Awards last year, and although he wasn’t a regional finalist, he says the Awards gave him feedback on what I needed to work on. “I completed the milk quality course to fill in the gaps.”

“I really enjoy working with animals and the changes in different periods of the year, for instance calving, mating, summer and the dry period.”

Josh would like to gain as much knowledge as he can through studying, discussion groups and industry events. “I’m aiming to progress to farm management.”

Josh holds a Bachelor of Agriscience, majoring in Agriculture from Massey University. “I’m excited to see the development of the new technologies being incorporated into the daily tasks of the sector, which will help to improve how we farm.”

“In the future, I can see more horticulture being used on dairy farms as a way of diversifying,” Josh says. “I’m all for this as I really enjoy gardening and plants.”

Farm Assistant Jai Spalding placed second in the Dairy Trainee category and won $1,200 in prizes.

Jai works on Pāmu Farms of New Zealand’s 207ha, 650-cow Moutoa property. He chose farming as a career as he loves working outdoors and with cows.

“I really enjoy getting up and working with my work mates each morning. I class them as close family,” he says.

“I’m proud of my successes so far including entering the Awards last year and being grade-free.”

Jessica Bird was third in the Dairy Trainee category. She is Herd Manager on Hopkins Farming Group Ltd’s 650-cow, 245ha Kimbolton farm and won $950 in prizes.

“I’d like to continue to see more females advancing in the industry,” she says. “Seeing more women advancing in the New Zealand dairy industry and more support becoming available for women in the

industry makes me feel excited about the future. Looking forward, this is something I’d like to become involved with.” 

Share Farmer Merit Awards:

· DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Sam Howard
· Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Sam Howard
· Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Sam Howard
· Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Sam Howard
· LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Sam Howard
· Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Sam Howard
· Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Sam Howard
· Westpac Business Performance Award – Sam Howard 

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:

· Naylor Lawrence and Associates Most Promising Entrant Award – Joel Peterson
· Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers Employee Engagement Award – Karl Wood
· Totally Vets Ltd Leadership Award – Karl Wood
· Hopkins Farming Group Feed Management Award – Karl Wood
· DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Javier Alejandro Pardo Diaz
· Fonterra Dairy Management Award – Karl Wood
· MyMilk Power Play Award – Joel Peterson
· Westpac Personal Planning and Financial Management Award – Mahraaz Hussein 

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

· Manawatū DIA Farming Knowledge Award – Josh Wilkinson
· Manawatū DIA Community and Industry Involvement Award – Josh Wilkinson
· I.S Dam Lining Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – Josh Wilkinson
· DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Josh Wilkinson