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Dairy Trainees On Study Tour In Lead-Up To Awards

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Dairy Trainees On Study Tour In Lead-Up To Awards

The final countdown is underway for the 33 finalists in the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, with the winners announced at the national awards dinner this weekend.

The 11 finalists in the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition are currently under-taking a three-day study tour, visiting award-winning farmers, Fonterra Headquarters in Auckland and the Tip Top factory.

The trainees will also have a health check, visit an organic robotic farm, a goat farm, and hear from a panel of speakers on topics such as setting and achieving goals, maintaining mental health on the farm, and also meeting with past New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners.

The tour will finish in Auckland where the group will join finalists in the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year competitions. The final aspect of their judging, an interview, will take place on Friday before the winners of the three competitions are announced at the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national awards dinner at Sky City on Saturday May 6. The winners will share over $190k in cash and prizes.

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 Primary ITO.

“It’s a big and exciting week for all our finalists,” General Manager Chris Keeping says. “The study tour is aimed at enabling the trainees to meet the other finalists and see things they may not have the opportunity to see otherwise.”

“The tour opens their minds to what is possible for them to achieve in the dairy industry – if they have the right attitude, work hard and accept some of the many opportunities available to them, and we know that previous trainees have totally revamped their goals and expectations following the study tour,” Mrs Keeping says. “The tour gives them the opportunity to gain confidence to progress in the industry, make life-long friends and get to know a network of people to contact for advice and support.”

The dairy trainee competition is targeted at those aged between 18-25 years employed in a full-time capacity on a dairy farm. Trainees can have up to three years full-time experience in the industry and hold a qualification no higher than a NZQA Level 4.

The trainee finalists of 10 men and one women will also visit Stuart and Kim Muir’s farm at Port Waikato. The Muir’s are working hard to return the wetlands to their original state and the tour provides an opportunity for the dairy trainees to see what is possible to achieve environmentally.

The tour is being led by Manawatu dairy farmer and a past chair of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Greg Maughan and Nathan Erskine a member of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Executive. .

More information is available on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

The 2017 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year finalists:

Northland Blake Anderson, 19, farm assistant, 420 cows, Kaiwaka
Auckland-Hauraki Alexander Voysey, 23, dairy production manager, 600 cows, Ngatea
Waikato Kobus Liebenberg, 23, herd manager 420 cows, Ohaupo
Bay of Plenty Hayden Goodall, 24, herd manager 750 cows, Matata
Central Plateau Taylor Macdonald, 20, 2IC, 470 cows, Reporoa
Taranaki Tim Bonner, 23, assistant manager, 800 cows, Kapuni
Manawatu Stephanie Walker, 22, farm assistant, 840 cows, Foxton
Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa Brandyn Beale, 21, herd manager, 350 cows, Dannevirke
West Coast-
Top of the South
Clay Paton, 23, 2IC, 450 cows, Wakefield 
North Otago
Ben Haley, 24, farm assistant, 1100 cows, Ashburton 
Southland-Otago  Ben McLean, 22, farm assistant, 980 cows, Lumsden