The winners of the 2003 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year title believe the Dairy Industry Awards are an important part of the industry and career succession, and potential entrants should prepare well and have a go.
It took Andrew and Alison Watters two attempts to win what was then called Sharemilker of the Year, now known as Share Farmer of the Year competition.
“In 2002 we entered the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Region and came third. We entered again in 2003 and won both local and national competitions, as well as national Merit Awards for Pasture Management, Farm Management and Leadership,” says Alison. “We wanted to match ourselves against the best.”
The Watters feel the win 14 years ago gave them confidence to pursue career goals, including applying for a Nuffield Scholarship, and they believe the win helped with the development of their MyFarm business.
At the time of entering and then winning, the couple were 50/50 Sharemilkers, with 600 cows. The season following their win they bought a farm and then began working within the MyFarm business in the area of farming and finance.
“As Sharemilkers of the Year, you are basically acknowledged by your peers for your farming and business acumen so it was a good springboard for career progression,” says Andrew. “It was also a good stepping stone for Alison, as after a period at Fonterra she began her governance career with LIC and AsureQuality.”
Entries for the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards open October 20th and encompass the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.
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.
The Watters believe the Awards programme accelerates entrants learning and growth by forcing entrants to analyse their business and its key components. “It's an exercise in self-reflection but also in selling yourself and your achievements which are good sales skills for any endeavour,” say the couple.
“We would definitely encourage people to enter the Awards this year. Both personally and at our business at MyFarm, we think having specific long term goals is really important.”
The Watters believe that this year’s entrants need to tell concise stories of their farming philosophy to stand out to the judges. “This means explaining clearly about the way you farm and how you are successful.”
“It's a matter of talking about and showing success. The judges want to see how passionate you are about the dairy industry.”
“Applying for and trying to win the competition is a really important aspect for young farmers building their careers,” says the Watters. “Prepare well and have a go!”
More information, entry criteria and regional dates can be found at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz
Further: Anne-Marie p: 021 210 4778