2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Winners Believe Strength Lies In Staff Management

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2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Winners Believe Strength Lies In Staff Management

25 March 2017

The winners of the 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year competition believe good staff management has stood them in good stead to help them to achieve their business goals.

Russell and Tracy Bouma were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill last night. The other big winners were Ann Linton who was named the 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Ben McLean, the 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Bouma’s, aged 40 years and 37 years, are sharemilking 762 cows on Andrew, Owen and Barbra Johnston’s 270ha farm in Clydevale. They won $20,065 in prizes.

They believe their excellent staff retention record is a reflection of their staff management abilities. “We have supported a number of staff to progress within the dairy industry,” say the couple.

“Our financial planning and monitoring systems that we have in place mean we have a good understanding of our financial position at all times.”

Russell and Tracy have been sharemilking since 2002, and this is the fourth time the couple have entered the Awards. “One of the benefits of entering is that we have been able to benchmark ourselves against other sharemilker constructive. Another is that we have received advice and feedback from the judges,” explains Russell. “Where else can you present your business to other like-minded people and professionals and get feedback on areas of improvement for just using your time?”

“Every time we have entered we have been able to implement some of the feedback from the judges,” continues Tracy. “We have continually improved our business and networked with other progressive and positive people in our industry.”

Future farming goals for the couple include achieving $1 million equity growth within the next five years. “We’d also like to maintain our good reputation whilst remaining in the top 25% OP for 50/50 sharemilkers throughout New Zealand.”

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.

Runner-up in the Southland-Otago competition went to Jared and Sara Crawford, both aged 33 years, who won $8,650 in prizes.

Originally from the Waikato, the Crawfords contract milk for Ian and Annette Tulloch on their 600-cow, 212ha property in Gore, and Jared was the 2014 Southland Farm Manager of the Year.

“Originally we entered the Dairy Industry Awards to network, as we were new to Southland, however we soon realised the benefits of entering were endless,” says Sara. “By breaking down our business piece-by-piece and analysing every aspect, we have gained skills and knowledge to take ourselves and our business to the next level.”

“Putting ourselves out there gave us opportunities to model and learn from the best in the business, as well as meeting some top people who have become very good friends.”

Jared is a qualified plumber and Sara trained as a chef before entering the dairy industry seven years ago. “We worked our way up the dairy farming ladder by continuously challenging ourselves and doing as much training as possible,” say the couple.

Future farming goals include moving to a 1700-cow operation next season and looking for a second large-scale contract position in 2019.

Third place went to Jeremy Smith and Michelle Oldham-Smith, who saw the Awards as a good challenge and an opportunity to benchmark as well as meeting like-minded people. They won $5,500 in prizes.

The couple are sharemilkers on Pip and Sharon Ryan’s 156ha farm at Waianiwa, where they milk 480 cows.

Jeremy (29) and Michelle (28) are passionate about the industry and live and breathe dairy. “Happy cows, happy people, yummy milk!” says Jeremy.

Future farming goals include gaining a second sharemilking or contract milking position for next season, which will help them to achieve their long-term goal of farm ownership in the next ten years.

The winner of the 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year competition says stock are the number one priority in her business.

Ann Linton won $8,650 in prizes and is the assistant manager for their employers Nathan and Debbie Erskine and Farm owners John and Helen Kerse on their 265ha, 800-cow farm at Gore.

“Our stock are well looked after and fully fed, and due to the farm’s size, there are lots of opportunities for learning with regards to livestock management and feed,” says Ann.

“Because we are a large-scale farm it’s important to work as a team, as everyone has different areas of strengths and weaknesses,” she says. “Working as a team helps achieve farm targets and goals.”

Ann (25) was previously dairy farming in Scotland and has been in the New Zealand dairy industry for five years.

She aims to continue to progress through the dairy industry, moving into a managing position in the 2017/18 season with farm ownership the ultimate goal.

Ann believes the benefits of entering the awards include networking and meeting like-minded, positive people. “It’s heaps of fun. You learn so much about yourself and it’s a fantastic challenge,” she says. “The Awards process allows you to put yourself up against others and see exactly where you sit.”

Otautau farm manager Angela Nicholson, aged 24 years, was second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $4,500 in prizes.

Angela sees the Awards experience as a great chance to network and gain confidence. “It’s a great experience and has really pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she says.

Currently working for Derek and Bronwyn Chamberlain and Daniel Mattsen on their 202ha property, milking 525 cows, Angela believes one of the strengths of the business lies in the excellent team of people she works with. “We have a great team in place resulting in a positive, safe and efficient workplace.”

“The farm is an established property with excellent facilities and quality pastures, a 54-bale fully automated rotary cowshed, three on-farm houses. This all contributes to a great work environment,” says Angela.

25-year-old Invercargill farm manager Matt McKenzie placed third and won $2,500 in prizes. Matt works on Eoin and Jayne McKenzie’s 313ha farm, milking 490 cows.

After spending three years as an apprentice mechanical engineer and another year as a qualified engineer, Matt began work on the family sheep and dry stock farm as an assistant. “We converted the farm and I began dairy farming 18 months ago. I spent one year as a trainee before moving to farm manager this season,” he explains.

“A friend encouraged me to enter the Awards, and I thought it would be a great way for me to learn more about the dairy industry.”

Matt sees his willingness to learn as a strength when it comes to the business. “I never feel too proud to ask for help. I love learning new ways to make our working days on the farm easier and more efficient,” he says.

“I’m also motivated to better my own performances every day. I want to have the cows in better condition, more milk in the vat and a tidy farm with high-quality grass,” Matt explains. “I want to have happy staff and a farm that people feel welcome on.”

The 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Mclean, entered the awards to give himself a challenge outside of the day-to-day work on farm. “I wanted to gauge myself against others in the same position.”

This is the 22-year-old’s first full season dairy farming, and he is currently farm assistant for David Thomas on his 980-cow, 393ha property at Lumsden. Ben won $7,675 in prizes.

Ben hopes to continue to progress within the dairy industry, and be contract milking within five years. “I want to build a good reputation and solid relationships within the industry.”

Runner-up in the Dairy Trainee competition was 23-year-old Balfour second-in-charge Tane Boyce, who won $3,500 in prizes. Tane currently works for Glenelg Balfour Ltd on a 400ha, 900-cow farm.

Third place in the Dairy Trainee competition went to 20-year-old farm assistant Brooke Buchanan who won $2,500 in prizes. Brooke works for the Telford Dairy Unit on their 175ha, 530-cow farm in Waitepeka.

The Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 11 at 1794 Clydevale Road, RD 2, Clydevale where Share Farmers of the Year, Russell and Tracy Bouma sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Ann Linton, and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben McLean. 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 – Jared and Sara Crawford
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Russell and Tracy Bouma
Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Jared and Sara Crawford
Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Russell and Tracy Bouma
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Russell and Tracy Bouma
Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Russell and Tracy Bouma
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Matthew van Hout
Westpac Business Performance Award – Jeremy Smith and Michelle Oldham-Smith

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
Claude Wuest Memorial Trophy Encouragement Award - Fraser Anderson
McIntyre Dick & Partners Employee Engagement Award - Angela Nicholson
Malloch McClean Leadership Award – Randy Saldana
Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award – Ann Linton
DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Ann Linton
Primary ITO Power Play Award – Matt McKenzie
Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Ann Linton
Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Randy Saldana

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
Vetsouth Most Promising Entrant Award – Tegan McLaughlan
FarmRight Farming Knowledge Award – Jase McNaught
Silver Fern Farms Communication & Engagement Award – Tane Boyce
Shand Thomson Community & Industry Involvement Award - Tane Boyce
DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Ben McLean