NEW ZEALAND – The 2011 Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Aaron and Kate Murdoch have already achieved the first of their five-year goals.
The couple won $13,400 in cash and prizes and was announced winners at the Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards dinner at the Stratford War Memorial Hall last night.
Opunake contract milkers Charlie and Johanna McCaig won the 2011 Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year contest and Tariki herd manager Samuel Humphreys won the 2011 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year.
The first goal of the Murdochs was to secure a 300-cow 50 per cent sharemilking position for this season. They have ticked that off with a 50 per cent contract with Frank and Rosemarie Murphy at Patea milking 320 cows.
“Our focus now is to grow equity and take advantage of any farming opportunity that will enable us to move through the industry and achieve our ultimate long term goal of farm ownership.”
It was the second time they had entered the contest, which they say has helped them improve and grow as a couple and as a business.
The couple has degrees in Applied Science in Rural Management and Valuation (Aaron) and Marketing and Sports Management (Kate) and says their skills are complimentary.
“We have strong strategic planning and management skills and this has enabled us to develop a clear strategic plan for us and our business.”
Inglewood 50 per cent sharemilkers Michael and Ruth Prankerd placed second in the 2011 Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest, winning $5600, and Stratford 25 per cent sharemilker Richard Uhlenberg was third, winning $3900.
The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.
March has been a big month for the 2011 Taranaki Farm Managers of the Year, Charlie and Johanna McCaig. The Opunake couple won $7350 in cash and prizes and was married earlier this month.
They are currently contract milking 275 cows for Michael and Barbara Stevenson, but plan to continue their rapid progress in the industry.
With just two years dairying experience, the couple plan to be lower order sharemilking a herd of more than 500 cows within another two years. Other goals include 50 per cent sharemilking within seven years and farm ownership within 10 years.
The McCaigs entered the awards for the first time to promote themselves and to make contacts. “We also entered to strengthen our understanding of what we need to do to achieve our goals.”
They say they are very solutions orientated and focused on achieving their goals.
Inglewood farm manager Tracey Zimmerman placed second in the farm manager contest, winning $3300, and South Taranaki farm manager Ian Butler was third winning $2100.
After three years in the dairy industry, 2011 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Samuel Humphreys, aged 27, and his wife Paula-lee have secured a lower order sharemilking position for 2011/2012.
Within five years the Humphreys hope to be 50 per cent sharemilking or in an equity partnership.
Mr Humphreys, who won $5100, was a nurseryman before switching to dairy farming. He is currently a herd manager for Karl and Julie Hitchcock at Tariki.
It was the second time he had entered the awards. “Entering this competition is a great way of networking with other like-minded people in the industry, as well as increasing your own industry knowledge.”
Urenui farm assistant Stefan Read was runner-up, winning $1260, and Oeo assistant Glen Bakewell was third in the dairy trainee contest, winning $500.
All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $130,000 in Queenstown on May 14.
Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Aaron and Kate Murdoch will host a field day on April 15, while Taranaki Farm Managers of the Year Charlie and Johanna McCaig will host a field day on the Opunake farm they manage on April 8.
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