Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Dairy in award-winning farmers’ DNA

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Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners announced.
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The winners of the 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year category say dairy farming is in their DNA, with endless opportunities for growth.

Cameron Smith and Nicole Hanning-Smith were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year category. 

The other big winners were Andrew Hazlett, who was named the 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Shannon Butler, the 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Smith and Hanning-Smith have a huge love for the land and the animals and said there is never a dull moment on farm. 

“It is challenging but so rewarding – your hard work gets you places.

“The endless opportunities for growth is the best part, as the dairy industry allows people to easily move up the ranks.”

The couple are contract milkers for Steve and Tracy Henderson on their 215ha, 580-cow Awarua property.  

They won $7900 in prizes and three merit awards.

They both come from farming backgrounds and attended Lincoln University, where they both achieved a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Agriculture.

Their passion and drive motivates them during harder time.

“We want to be in a position when opportunities come knocking, we can grab them and run.”

Hazlett was named 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year.

He won $6950 in prizes plus one merit award and is farm manager on Paul and Rachel Diprose’s 208ha, 570-cow Thornbury property. 

The 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year is Shannon Butler who was inspired to enter after attending the awards dinner last year and then hearing 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager winner Laura Murdoch speak at a PrimaryITO class.  

“I thought ‘Why not do something out of my comfort zone and meet other people in the industry?’”

Butler is farm assistant on Allan and Kaye Wilson’s 200ha Invercargill property, milking 600 cows. She won $6950 in prizes and one merit award.

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