30 March 2020
The 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners are people-focused who consider their staff an asset of their business.
Nick and Rose Bertram were named the 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards announced via video link on the region’s Facebook page on Monday night. The other major winners were Stephen Smyllie, the 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Tom Quinn, the 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Nick and Rose, aged 33 and 27 years respectively, say they enjoy not just being farmers but also managing their own business. “We enjoy being in a position to be able to train and grow our staff for the industry,” they say. “Good people drive profit.”
The Bertrams are 50/50 sharemilkers on Barry and Carol McNeil’s 150ha, 440-cow Woodville property. They won $7,632 in prizes and five merit awards.
Nick won the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and was runner-up in the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmer category last year. He says entering the Awards programme has opened many doors and job opportunities.
“Coming from a non-farming background, the Awards have been a great opportunity to prove ourselves. We wouldn’t have the job we have now if it wasn’t for the exposure we have had through the NZDIA programme.”
The couple are passionate about breeding cows and enjoy managing the different challenges farming presents.
Nick is an enthusiastic advocate for the dairy industry and is Tararua Federated Farmers Sharemilker Representative and is also on the Federated Farmers National Executive for Sharemilkers.
Future farming goals for Nick and Rose include developing a calf-rearing block on land they have purchased and building their own home in a couple of years. “We plan to be in a position to buy a farm of 400+ cows within the next seven years.”
Runners-up in the Share Farmer category were Eddie and Janine Bosh, who are 50/50 sharemilkers for Donald and Pat Wood on their 110ha Featherston property, milking 330 cows.
The first-time entrants saw the Awards as an avenue to potential opportunities, networking and being able to grow and develop from judges’ feedback. They won $4,082 in prizes and three merit awards.
“We love the variety, diversity, challenges and flexibility of farming,” say the couple. “We have both grown up on dairy farms, which we see as a huge asset to our business.”
Eddie (27) and Janine (23) credit their strong working relationship, family-like rapport with their farm owners and close connection with others in their wider community as adding strength to their business.
The couple are passionate about the financial aspect of their business and future farming goals include using this strength to grow their business to create opportunities for others.
Third placegetters in the Share Farmer category were John and Aimee Hull who are proud of the progress they have made in their current role. “We’ve achieved a 10% empty rate, down from 22% before we started, and we’re also achieving the farm owner’s goals of 120,000kg/ms.”
John (27) and Aimee (25) contract milk for Neville and Annie Davies on their 150ha, 330-cow Featherston property and say their clear goals for the farm and business make them much more achievable.
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 partners DairyNZ and Primary ITO.
The 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, Stephen Smyllie, won $5,342 in prizes plus six merit awards.
“I would highly recommend that anyone who is passionate about dairy farming at any skill level should enter the industry awards programme,” says Stephen.
“The process has made me focus on clear career and personal goals which have set a clear path for me to chase and achieve.”
Stephen (23) is Production Manager/2IC on Pāmu Farms of New Zealand (formerly Landcorp) on the 322ha, 840-cow Kahutara property.
“Dairy farming constantly challenges me,” he says. “There are always ways to innovate and improve performance and production which keeps me driven to succeed.”
Runner-up in the Dairy Manager category was 30-year-old Leon McDonald winning $2,062 in prizes and one merit award.
Leon acknowledges working long hours with a young family can be challenging however finds a work-life balance with good time-off during less busy periods.
Leon is 2IC on Barry and Carol McNeill’s 150ha, 440-cow Woodville property where he enjoys the physical aspect of farming. “There always something different happening and I enjoy being able to see results based on our hard work,” he says. “It makes the long days worth it.”
The third placegetter in the Dairy Manager category was raised on a family dairy farm in the UK and entered the Awards to challenge himself.
33-year-old Aled Ellis is farm manager for Kay Cassells and J.B Cassells Estate’s 69ha, 200-cow farm at Pahiatua. He won $1,552 in prizes and one merit award.
The 2020 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year is 24-year-old Tom Quinn, who
is currently a Senior Farm Assistant on Selwyn and Jenny McLachlan 210ha, 920-cow farm at Masterton. He won $5,800 in prizes and one merit award.
The first-time entrant saw the Awards as an opportunity to benchmark himself against others at a similar level. “I’m new to the industry so it is a good opportunity to meet like-minded farmers and rural professionals and to learn new skills.”
Tom is passionate about food production, in particular New Zealand’s competitive advantage of low-cost production with less environmental impact compared to other big agricultural nations.
“I have a passion for seeing livestock grow, develop and reach their potential,” he says. “I’m a fourth-generation dairy farmer and really enjoy the variety of tasks that dairy farming offers.”
Carterton Farm Assistant Brett France, aged 23 years, was second in the Dairy Trainee category, winning $1,600 in prizes and one merit award. He works for Bruce and Kylie Baron on their 180ha, 382-cow property.
Brett chose farming as his career as he could see the lifestyle would suit him and help him to achieve what he wanted in life. “I’m able to see the rewards of our hard work which gives me great satisfaction.”
19-year old 2IC Rutger (Roger) Visser was third. He works for Hank van den Bosch on his 210ha, 520-cow Featherston property.
Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Eddie and Janine Bosch
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Eddie and Janine Bosch
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Nicholas & Rosemarie Bertram
• Honda Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award – Nicholas & Rosemarie Bertram
• LIC Recording & Productivity Award – Nicholas & Rosemarie Bertram
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Nicholas & Rosemarie Bertram
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Nicholas & Rosemarie Bertram
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Eddie and Janine Bosch
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa DIA Most Promising Entrant Award – Aled Ellis
• Irrigation Services Employee Engagement Award – Stephen Smyllie
• Moore Markhams Ltd Leadership Award – Stephen Smyllie
• Vet Services Feed Management Award – Stephen Smyllie
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Stephen Smyllie
• Fonterra Dairy Management Award – Leon McDonald
• Primary ITO Power Play Award –Stephen Smyllie
• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Stephen Smyllie
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa DIA Most Promising Entrant- Jacob Stolte
• TFM Tractors Farming Knowledge Award – James Vallance
• T.H. Enterprises Ltd Community & Industry Involvement Award – Tom Quinn
• McFall Fuel Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – James Vallance
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Brett France