Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Pushing out the boundaries

The Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year, Thomas Herbert, pictured, entered the Dairy Industry Awards (DIA) with the intention of trying to get his name out there and get a sharemilking job. At just 23 he had already secured his first sharemilking position for next season, and winning the award has been a bonus. 

“I made the decision last year that I was ready to step up and see if I could get a sharemilking job, and I was pretty lucky to get one,” he said.

The Te Awamutu son of veterinarian Steve Herbert, has always been exposed to the dairy industry and spent his school holidays doing relief milking. He spent a couple of years as a farm assistant, then completed a Diploma in Agriculture at Massey University and got a job on a dairy farm at Ngatea milking 450 cows.

“I just loved having the responsibility and being able to see I could get somewhere.”

While working there he entered the DIA Dairy Trainee competition for the Auckland/Hauraki region.

“I’m quite shy naturally and it pushed me out of my boundaries. It has helped to get myself out there and not be scared to talk to people that I don’t know.”

He’s currently farm assistant for Mike and Sue Visser on a 1000-cow Te Awamutu farm owned by a Maori syndicate, the Haurepo Trust. He starts a 50:50 230-cow sharemilking position at Te Awamutu next season. His goal is to expand to a 450-cow position in three years and ultimately achieve farm ownership.

Second place went to Matamata assistant Daniel Duncan of Matamata and Matamata trainee Stephanie Broomfield placed third. The DairyNZ Practical Skills Award went to Daniel Duncan and the Dairy Exporter Farming Knowledge Award to Tara Miller of Tokanui.

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