2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award Winner Taking All Opportunities

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2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award Winner Taking All Opportunities

15 May 2022

For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

The 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year is driven, inspirational and a great example of a farmer who is taking every opportunity the New Zealand dairy industry offers.

Will Green was named the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, the region’s Jaspal Singh became the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday, in front of more than 540 people, making it the largest dinner to be held at the new venue since opening.

Will has tasted success in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards as the 2018 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year and was also awarded that years National Runner-Up title.

Share Farmer head judge, Guy Michaels from DairyNZ, says Will impressed the judges with his contagious energy, accuracy and his constant business reviewing looking for opportunities to learn.

“He’s a great example of somebody who has come to New Zealand and recognises the opportunities the New Zealand dairy industry offers and has embraced the system, which is completely opposite to what he was used to back home”.

Originally from the UK, the 34-year-old holds a Degree in Agriculture from Harper Adams University and enjoys farming as it gives him the opportunity to work outdoors and with livestock.

Will is a 34% share milker on the 270ha Dairy Holdings Ltd Hinds property milking 1060 cows. 

The judges were also impressed with his on-farm presentation, which involved his whole team, including his partner Sally Eames.

“Will has fostered a strong team culture to the extent that they have a farm footy team, with their own personalised kit.  The authenticity of his team’s engagement was very evident.”

The judges noted that Will constantly benchmarks himself against the best, using various DairyBase tools and those available to him through Dairy Holdings Ltd.

“He’s involved with different groups where he benchmarks his results and based on that he sets targets, which he achieves and then benchmarks those results against,” says farmer judge Robin Barkla from Whakatane.

Will identifies benefits of the Awards programme include the networking opportunities and meeting and making new like-minded friends.

 “The programme made me focus on goals and the direction I wanted to be heading as well as creating speaking opportunities with My Connect, Understand Your Co-op and the Pasture Summit.”

The judges said Will possesses a good knowledge of the challenges that are facing the industry and was able to describe the different options available to farmers that would help reduce emissions on-farm. 

The judges identified finance as one of Will’s strengths and that of his business.  “He has an excellent knowledge of the financial drivers in his business and things that have a direct impact on his financial performance,” says judge Michele Cranefield, Senior Manager ANZ.

“Will was able to demonstrate very well where he’s been and where he wants to go and used a timeline, milk price and other influencing factors to show us his journey.”

“He’s living those numbers and totally understands them.”

The judges noted that Will was very well-rounded from finance through to people and developing his team.

“Will’s brain is working 24/7, he reaches far and wide for learning and advice and he’s very strategic,” say the judges.

“He knows where he’s going and he’s determined to get there.”

To win the national title and $50,000 in prizes, Will demonstrated strengths in human resources, finance, pasture, health, safety and biosecurity. He also won three merit awards: the Honda Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award, the Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award and NZDIA Business Performance Award.

The judges also noted across the board all national share farmer finalists understood and appreciated the challenges facing the industry and are looking to the future with confidence.

“It’s been incredibly uplifting to see such a great cross-section of our dairy industry.

It’s definitely not all doom and gloom, they can see a big future.”

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, and Ravensdown along with industry partners DairyNZ and MediaWorks

The runners-up in the Share Farmer of the Year competition are Central Plateau farmers Todd and Renee Halliday, who are a former Auckland sales and marketing executive and a former adventure tourism guide and boutique lodge manager.

Todd (40) was born and bred in Auckland city and had never set foot on a farm until he met Renee (39), who is a dairy farmer’s daughter. The couple spent five years in the hospitality sector managing boutique lodges together before entering the dairy industry in 2009.

Todd initially spent two years as a farm assistant in Reporoa before progressing to a management role for a further two years.  He and Renee then spent seven years in Mid Canterbury before returning to Reporoa where they now contract milk and are equity partners with Phil and Diane Herdman, on a 153ha Reporoa property, milking 520 cows.

They won the Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene merit award, the Meridian Environmental Sustainability merit award and over $28,000 in prizes.

“Todd and Renee are a complete package,” says Guy. “Their farm is absolutely immaculate, picture perfect, and they are in-sync with their values and have clear goals they are working towards.”

The judges noted that Todd and Renee are very strong in the environmental space and articulated well the challenges facing the dairy industry.

The couple also demonstrated a real passion for their Jersey cows. “Through their passion, they’ve converted Friesian farmers to Jersey!”

The judges observed Todd and Renee’s genuine passion, positive attitude and infectious energy and say they are great ambassadors for the dairy industry.

“They are strong in human resources with a good level of self-awareness and care for the well-being of each other and their team.”

“We’re excited to see where they take themselves and their business.”

Taranaki couple Murray and Rachel Perks placed third in the Share Farmer category, winning the Federated Farmers Leadership merit award, the LIC Animal Wellbeing, Recording and Productivity merit award and over $19,000 in prizes.

The judges described the Perks as a focused, well-rounded, genuine couple who are the real deal.

“They have faced adversity both personally and professionally and have shown resilience and an admirable ability to rebound,” they say.

The judges noted Murray and Rachel have a beautiful farm that has been in the family since 1883 and they are now taking to the next level.

“They have fenced-off waterways and environmentally they’re doing a fantastic job,” says Guy.

“They’re continuing the farm legacy with the herd which is the one of the oldest recorded herds in New Zealand.”

The Perks are 24% variable order sharemilkers for Alistair, Stephen and Imelda Abbott, on their Abbott Trusts Partnership 134.45ha, 445-cow Hawera property.

The judges believe Murray and Rachel are exceptional role models and look forward to where they will leave their mark.

The 2022 Dairy Manager of the Year is Jaspal Singh who stood out as an immigrant who is professional, detailed, diligent and possesses a desire to succeed with a dedication to growth.

“From the moment we entered the farm gate to the time we left, we witnessed an immaculately presented farm and a polished and professional presentation which highlighted Jaspal’s knowledge and sense of responsibility for the farm’s management and performance,” says Dairy Manager Head Judge Gray Beagley from DairyNZ.

“Jaspal displayed his dedication to learning, growth and a strong desire to succeed in the New Zealand Dairy Industry and he also inspires others to excel, by mentoring and sharing knowledge.”

Jaspal was an Information Technology (Computer Applications) student in India, and came to New Zealand to further his studies in 2014. 

Upon completion of his degree in 2015 he joined the dairy industry as a farm assistant in Mossburn and is now farm manager on Mark and Carmen Hurst’s 220ha, 800-cow property at Waimate. 

He won over $19,000 in prizes and also won the DeLaval Livestock Management merit award, Fonterra Dairy Management merit award and the Meridian Environmental and Sustainability merit award.

Interview Judge Rosemarie Costar noted that Jaspal is committed to his family with strong values. “He and his wife Ruby’s relationship is a strength of his business.”

Jaspal documented improvement under his management on a number of metrics including reproductive performance, incidence of lame cows, somatic cell count and production figures.

“He provides his team with clarity around the WHY things are done are certain way, not just the how, with policies and procedures that ensured a consistent high-quality outcome,” say the judges.

“Jaspal’s attention-to-detail was incredible and he demonstrated best practice across the board.”

The judges were impressed with Jaspal’s knowledge of legislation including He Waka Eke Noa and was able to articulate clearly his preferred pricing mechanism and the reasons for it.

“Jaspal takes a proactive approach to animal health and welfare and tries to stay ahead of it all the time,” says Lake Brunner farmer judge Renee Rooney.

“Jaspal and his wife Ruby have immersed themselves in the dairy industry and are continually training and learning to become the best they can be.“

The judges say Jaspal acknowledges the New Zealand dairy industry as a whole and the opportunities that are available with employment such as housing.  “He can see opportunity that some others don’t and is an excellent example of what can be achieved by doing the simple things very well.”

The Dairy Manager runner-up, Robyn Mare from West Coast/Top of the South won the Ravensdown Pasture & Feed Management Award and ANZ Personal Planning and Financial Management merit awards and $11,000 in prizes.

The judges described Robyn as a quiet achiever, with an outstanding broad knowledge both inside and outside the farm gate. 

Robyn is farm manager for Rob and Michelle Little on their 155ha, 310-cow Greymouth property where she lives with her husband Vince and their children Troy (16) and Regan (14).

The judges noted that Robyn showed genuine ownership and clarity of her management role and displayed exceptional best on-farm practice across all fields.

“The respect she had for her employer, her cows and the land shone through with a very enjoyable and enlightening presentation,” says Jack Meehan, ANZ Judge.

“She really is a bank manager’s dream – her business planning is a true strength and has already led to industry progression.”

Robyn farms in a challenging West Coast environment with heavy rainfall and different waterways and impressed the judges with her ability to farm to the conditions. “She keeps her systems simple and repeatable,” says Gray.

 
Hayden Purvis from Bay of Plenty placed third and won almost $8,000 in prizes. He is farm manager for Peter Overdevest and Tania Akehurst on their 148ha Galatea farm, milking 400 cows.

The judges believe Hayden will be a great ambassador for the dairy industry, as he clearly takes pride in the assets he manages and respects the people in his team.

“The farm was clearly his happy place, he relaxed and was able to clearly articulate his passion and knowledge of all things stock and feed,” they say.

“We were left with no doubt about Hayden’s dedication to his management role.”

The judges noted Hayden’s awareness of the importance of having time off-farm to relax, and were particularly impressed with his golf handicap (7).

Hayden values his off-farm interests, namely his wife Deborah and daughters Lucy (2) and Sophie (1) who also provide him with the motivation to get up in the morning during challenging times. 

“He was also able to form credible opinions for or against different practices and shared his knowledge of regulatory requirements, both regional and national,” says Gray.

The 2022 Dairy Trainee of the Year was awarded to Peter O’Connor from Canterbury/North Otago who is described by the judges as a mature, capable person with extremely strong practical skills.

The Dairy Trainee judges say the first-time entrant is strong across all fields and does the basics very well.

“Peter is an intelligent, generational-farmer who is perceptive and articulate – farming is in his blood,” says Dairy Trainee head judge Nicky Allomes.

The 23-year-old grew up on a dairy farm near Westport and was actively involved in the family farm and its development.  He obtained a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (First Class Honours) from Lincoln University and worked a variety of jobs during holidays.

James Courtman, Te Kauwhata farmer judge, noted that Peter has an excellent understanding of the co-operative model and the importance of it to the industry. “He also understood that the model doesn’t just happen by itself – you have to get involved if you want to make it happen.

Peter won $9,000 in prizes including a Honda XR 190 farm motorbike, along with the DairyNZ Practical Skills merit award.

He is currently 2IC on Leighton and Michelle Pye’s 242ha, 900-cow Mayfield property and will progress to a new role managing a 400-cow farm near Lauriston next season.

“Peter was up-to-date with the major factors influencing the industry, including the labour shortage,” says judge Mark Laurence, DairyNZ. “He has good broad general knowledge of the industry and how those topics then flow back to on-farm.”

The judges say all the Dairy Trainee finalists possess a willingness to seek knowledge and a desire to achieve their goals.

“As a group, they highlight the career opportunities in the New Zealand dairy industry,” says Mark. “The 11 finalists came from Canada, Scotland, UAE via India, there were career changers and there were the sons and daughters of New Zealand dairy farmers.

Nicky noted that it takes a community to thrive as a New Zealand dairy farmer and the finalists are a bright and shining example of this community.

The Dairy Trainee runner-up, Thomas Lundman from Bay of Plenty also won the DeLaval Communication & Engagement merit award along with $5,500 in prizes.

Thomas (24) grew up on a dairy farm and is in his second season in the dairy industry, working as a nature guide in Fiordland for five years previously.

He is currently farm assistant for Michael and Linda Mexted on their 140ha Whakatane farm milking 550 cows.

The judges noted that Thomas is an outstanding communicator and as a career changer, the dairy industry is lucky to have him.

“He has a brilliant awareness of what’s important to himself, the farm and to the industry,” says Mark. “Thomas has a real appreciation for his employer and his animal breeding knowledge is second-to-none.”

“For someone who has only been in the dairy industry for two years, what he is displaying is exceptional,” say the judges. “We look forward to him being a great ambassador for the industry.”

Third placegetter is Zoe Bryson (24) from Central Plateau. She is herd manager for Thomas and Therese Earl, milking 500 cows on the 185ha Mangakino farm. 

Zoe won $3000 in prizes, the Streamliner Best Video merit award and the Federated Farmers Farming Knowledge merit award.

“Zoe made an outstanding video and we got to see where she came from in Scotland and her progression through the New Zealand dairy industry,” say the judges.  “Setting and achieving goals has helped her achieve progression in the industry for next season.”

Zoe grew up on her parents’ dairy farm in Scotland, and prior to coming to New Zealand, she worked part-time as a Reproduction Manager and AI Technician while gaining a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Bioscience (distinction).

Zoe’s strengths lie in communication and cows and the judges agreed she has a very bright future.

“Zoe acknowledged she has been given a lot of opportunities and would like to be in a position to give back to the industry.”

Visit www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz for more information on the awards and winners.

2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year:
• Winner – Will Green, Canterbury/North Otago
• Runner-Up - Todd and Renee Halliday, Central Plateau
• Third – Murray and Rachel Perks, Taranaki
Merit Awards
DairyNZ People & Culture Award Scott & Rebecca O’Brien
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award Todd & Renee Halliday
Federated Farmers Leadership Award Murray & Rachel Perks
Honda Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award Will Green
LIC Animal Wellbeing, Recording and Productivity Award Murray & Rachel Perks
Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award Todd & Renee Halliday
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award Will Green
NZDIA Business Performance Award Will Green
Ecolab Interview Award Kevin & Kyla Freeman

2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year:
• Winner – Jaspal Singh, Canterbury/North Otago
• Runner-up – Robyn Mare, West Coast/Top of the South
• Third – Hayden Purvis, Bay of Plenty
Merit Awards
DairyNZ People & Leadership Award Jimmy Cleaver
DeLaval Livestock Management Award Jaspal Singh
Fonterra Dairy Management Award Jaspal Singh
LIC Interview Award Jimmy Cleaver
Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award Jaspal Singh
Ravensdown Pasture & Feed Management Award Robyn Mare
ANZ Personal Planning and Financial Management Award Robyn Mare

2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year:
• Winner – Peter O’Connor, Canterbury/North Otago
• Runner-up – Thomas Lundman, Bay Of Plenty
• Third – Zoe Bryson, Central Plateau
Merit Awards
Streamliner Best Video Award Zoe Bryson
DairyNZ Practical Skills Award Peter O’Connor
DeLaval Communication and Industry Involvement Award Thomas Lundman
Federated Farmers Farming Knowledge Award Zoe Bryson

2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award:
Craigmore Farming Services, Canterbury/North Otago (see separate media release)