Friday, December 1, 2023

Taranaki couple take top dairy prize – just like Mum and Dad

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Doctor-farmer and husband repeat NZ Dairy Industry achievement.
The NZ Dairy Industry Award winners: L to R: Dairy Trainee of Year Bill Hamilton, Share Farmers of the Year Bridget and Hayden Goble and Farm Manager of the Year Jack Symes.
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Being a national award-winning share farmer runs in the family for Hayden and Bridget Goble.

The Taranaki farmers are the 2023 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, taking the title 33 years after Hayden’s parents Kevin and Diane were the inaugural winners in 1990 of what was then known as New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year.

It is believed to be the first time in the history of the awards that the son or daughter of a previous national winner has also won a national award.

Hayden said he remembers as a child watching his parents go through the judging process.

“The great thing about Hayden’s parents is that they have allowed us to do it our way. They are innovative, they are open to new ideas, and they are supportive,” Bridget said.

It was the first time the couple had entered the awards. Hayden said they had gotten to the point in their careers where they wanted to build some more networks and challenge themselves.

“We are at this stage and we had to give this a go now, push ourselves and meet new people.”

“We are both competitive people and we have both aimed to put our best foot forward for this and it just shows that our hard work has paid off,” Bridget said.

She believes it was their work as a team that helped them win the title. They are a team in everything that they do and view their individual goals as team goals.

“I think we have both got that drive and that push. It’s not one person leading it,” Hayden said.

Bridget said they also complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The couple are 20% VO equity partners together with Bridget Mooney, Kevin Goble and Diane Goble on their 200ha, 565-cow New Plymouth property.

The Gobles also won three merit awards for dairy hygiene, pasture performance and the interview award.

Hayden graduated from Telford in 2005 with a diploma in agriculture and enjoys the combination of running a business while securing his family’s future. Bridget is a doctor, with a specialty in emergency medicine.

The judges were impressed with Bridget’s on-farm technical knowledge and application.

“She’s a busy full-time doctor, but she is boots-in and we enjoyed seeing how she makes a positive contribution to their business,” Michele Cranefield, ANZ senior manager and judge, said.

“There is a power in their connection and balance of their partnership and they both have a genuine passion for the industry.”

The winners were announced at a gala dinner held at Cordis Hotel in Auckland on Saturday night, in front of more than 500 people.

Canterbury/North Otago’s Jack Symes became the 2023 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year.

 He said winning the award made all of the hard work he has put into the contest over the past six months pay off.

“I’m very honoured on behalf of all of the other contestants around the country.”

Symes is farm manager on parents Judy and Brian Symes’s 160ha, 630-cow property at Southbridge. He said they had been hugely supportive of him during the awards process and his farming career.

Symes said entering the awards allowed him to develop skills and make connections that he will use in the future.

“This award has allowed me to express my passion for the industry and I am very excited to be part of a great industry going forward.”

Northland farm assistant Bill Hamilton won the 2023 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. He said it felt incredible to win the title.

“I didn’t even bother writing a speech because I didn’t think I’d win. It’s pretty special.”

Hamilton is a farm assistant on Richard and Sharon Booth’s 395-cow, 174ha property at Titoki, employed by Andrew and Vicky Booth.

Also recognised was outgoing DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle, who was  awarded the Services to the Dairy Industry Award, in recognition of his contribution to and advocacy for the NZ dairy industry over many years. Cameron Henderson won the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award.

Runner-up in the Share Farmer of the Year contest was Waikato’s Aleisha Broomfield, while Canterbury/North Otago couple Jonathon and Stacey Hoets were placed third.

The Dairy Manager runner-up was José Hamber from Manawatū, and Finja Philips from the Auckland/Hauraki region was third.

Canterbury-Otago’s Brayden Johnston was placed second in the Dairy Trainee of the Year contest and  Manawatū farm assistant Sarah Powell was third.

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