Wednesday, February 21, 2024

From crunching numbers to baling hay

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Twenty-five-year-old from Pahiatua named 2023 Rural Contractors NZ Trainee of the Year.
Jessica Bills, 2023 Rural Contractors NZ Trainee of the Year, with runner-up Caleb Turner.
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Twenty-five-year-old Jessica Bills gave up a job at the local accounting office to go contracting, and now she’s the 2023 Rural Contractors NZ Trainee of the Year.

Bills, from Pahiatua, grew up on her parents’ dairy farm and her proud mum and dad, Gary and Amanda, were with her at the Rural Contractors conference in Invercargill when she collected her award. 

Gary said it was not a big surprise Jessica turned to contracting.

“Whenever she got home from school and I was in the tractor, she’d kick me out.”

Jessica joined Mabey Contracting in her home town last October.

Andrew and Catherine Mabey were also there last night and were among 10 firms recognised for the support they as employers have provided to the finalists, including Jessica.

The runner-up was Caleb Turner from Sims Contractors in Ōtaki.

Both won $1000 travel prizes sponsored by Tulloch Farm Machinery, Nufarm and RCNZ.

Jessica said she’s learning everything she can in the job, including raking, baling, mowing, wrapping and stacking hay and sileage as well as servicing machines in the workshop.

“I love every minute of it.” 

She hopes to stay in the rural contracting industry and eventually manage an operation.

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