The 2019 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners believe the strength of their team and learning from past experiences, combined with their genuine love of cows and enjoyment of being outdoors, has contributed to their success.
Jacob and Leah Prankerd say entering the dairy industry awards enabled them to gain a deeper understanding of their business.
"It also enabled us to strengthen our industry network by getting to know others in the industry and our rural professionals," they say.
The couple were named the 2019 Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year at the region's annual awards dinner held at the TSB Hub in Hawera on Monday night and won $12,750 in prizes and one merit award.
The other major winners were the 2019 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year Kenneth Harrison, and the 2019 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year Marshall Jane.
Jacob and Leah believe their ability to overcome challenges such as the low payout which coincided with a new farm, increased cow numbers and a high empty rate has led them to be stronger in every aspect of their business today.
"That was a year that our health and wellbeing really got pushed aside, just so we could get through. The repercussions of that year followed through into the following years, however we are now back on our feet," say the couple.
"If we hadn't worked together as a strong team, then it would have been a completely different outcome."
The couple say that teamwork and the ability to work towards a common goal is one of the strengths of their business.
"That strength is also extended to others involved in our operation such as farm owners and professionals," says Leah.
The couple are in their first season as 50/50 sharemilkers on Jill and Andrew Adlam's 195-cow, 69ha Stratford property. Jacob, 27, grew up on a dairy farm and holds a Modern Apprenticeship Level 4 ITO while Leah, 26, is currently completing the Diploma of Agribusiness ITO.
"Our short-term goal is to move onto a larger-scale farm of 500 cows as 50/50 sharemilkers. Dairy farming is a great career, letting you push yourself to see what you can create and produce from different farms," says Jacob. "Being challenged in this industry keeps it exciting and we are forever learning and evolving."
Future farming goals include farm ownership, and the couple acknowledge that everything they do now is because they have learnt from past experiences.
"We have become more adaptable to our environment, proactive not reactive, and we can still see a lot of learning and experiences yet to come."