A couple in their twenties has taken out the top award in the 2018 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards.

Reece and Natasha Cox were announced winners of the region's Share Farmer of the Year competition at the annual awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night.

The couple, who won more than $12,500 in prizes and five merit awards, contract milk 700 cows on David and Lesley Jensen's 240ha Tauranga farm.

In their first season of contract milking, Mr Cox said he was proud to have moved up in the industry through hard work.


"It's a challenging but very rewarding career," he said.

Mrs Cox had been a teacher for the past seven years and was in her first season working on a farm. The couple were also expecting their first child in April.

Other major prize winners included Bridie Virbickas who was named the 2018 Bay Of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year and Zoe Gleeson who took out the 2018 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Runners-up in the Bay of Plenty Share Farmer of the Year competition were Michael and Kylie Thorne, who won $5,600 in prizes.