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22 November 2017

The first solo female to win the Dairy Manager of the Year category in the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards believes her win proves that women are capable of being successful in senior roles within the dairy industry.

29-year-old Manawatu Farm Manager Hayley Hoogendyk says her success also shows that the dairy industry is a fast-changing environment that is always looking for the best result.

“One of the hurdles for women years ago was that farming required brawn and skills that supposedly only males possess. It is now obvious that there are a huge amount of aspects involved in dairy farming, some of which your ‘typical female’ is better at than most males,” says Hayley. 

“As the industry grows and needs more staff, it is important to have female role models for the young people, especially young females who may not realise it is an industry that requires people with all forms of skills, abilities and strengths.”

Potential entrants have until November 30 to enter the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Hayley believes there will always be excuses and reasons for not entering the Awards, and has sound advice for those considering entering the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

“Now is the right time to enter. Don’t just enter to win. Enter to use the Awards process as a tool to improve yourself as a person and your career. Enter to give yourself a base for doing some strategic work on yourself and your business. Enter to get free feedback from industry professionals. Enter to meet some like-minded people. Enter to get your name out there and your CV to the top of the pile. Enter for yourself and your future.”

“I have definitely refocused goals and made plans to achieve my goals. I have made changes on farm, I have gained confidence and I have also made truckloads of friends.”

Hayley firmly believes the Awards have contributed to her career progression through the industry after she proved herself in the 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year category and again in 2016 when she entered the 2016 Dairy Manager of the Year. 

“Firstly, it has given me confidence in my own abilities to be able to take that next step, through the comments I received from Judges, and the feedback I could use to improve myself.”

“Secondly, the process of entering, being judged, attending sponsors’ evenings and the Awards dinner has allowed people to get to know me and what I am passionate about. This ranges from other entrants, to farm owners, and rural professionals,” she says.

“All of these people want to be involved in your career and work with you in one way or another. They have helped me get information that I require to make on farm decisions, act as mentors or people to bounce ideas off, and others have become genuine friends.”

The Awards are so much more than winning prizes, says Hayley, and the benefits to her have been numerous. “I have made some fantastic friends through the awards, both at regional and national level and across all sections of the awards. I feel this is because all the entrants are people that share similar views of the industry and are motivated to improve themselves and learn from the judging process and the feedback from Judges.”

“The national and regional sponsors have been a fantastic support, not only the prizes that they provide but they actually want to get to know you and be involved in your career.”

The 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.

Hayley believes that entering the Awards was an opportunity to receive feedback and ideas from judges and industry professionals. “As an employee, the cost to get this time and feedback from professionals is almost always out of reach financially. So, the Awards are an opportunity to get it all for free, while improving yourself along the way,” she says.

“The judging process of the awards has pushed me to analyse every section of the farm that I was involved with. The judging criteria breaks it down into small sections which makes it easier to just focus on one section at a time. Otherwise farming just becomes a day to day focus and you do the same thing over and over, when you could potentially be improving every year.”

“The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are such a good opportunity for you to step back from the day to day focus of farming and put some time into assessing yourself, your farm, your animals,” says Hayley.  “I would highly recommend the experience to anyone.”


Enter online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz