Canterbury creams dairying honours

Top farmers are now placing a greater consideration on environmental concerns. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Top farmers are now placing a greater consideration on environmental concerns. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Quake-affected Canterbury became the first region to scoop all three top awards at the annual Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday night.

Enda and Sarah Hawe won the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Mick O'Connor was top farm manager, and Nathan Christian won the trainee award.

The winners were announced at Auckland's Sky City Hotel in front of 680 people.

"It is quite a feature and it has blown us away really to have the three winners from the same region," national convenor Chris Keeping said.

"It also underlines the strength and powerhouse the Canterbury region has become in terms of dairy farming, and the opportunities that creates for young people to progress their dairy farming careers."

Both the Hawes and 22-year-old Christian are employed by the same family, the Johnsons of Ashburton.

The Hawes, aged 33 and 29, have been lower order sharemilking (17.5 per cent) 1400 cows and have secured a 50 per cent 650-cow sharemilking position for the new season.

Judges say top farmers are now placing a greater consideration on environmental concerns and public perceptions of dairy farming.

Finalists had developed strong support networks to help them progress their career, the judges concluded, and no longer relied on owning their own farm for gaining success.

"There is an acceptance that farm ownership isn't the only way to enjoy participation in a vibrant industry. The finalists are thinking about security for their family and about enjoying a more balanced lifestyle."

- APNZ

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