Several NZ Young Farmers members will go head-to-head in Taranaki's longest-running dairy awards programme.

James Holgate, 25, and Buddy Sharpe, 20, have entered the prestigious New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

They'll both be vying to take out the title of 2018 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year.

James Holgate is in his second season as a herd manager on Tony and Lorraine Lash's 350-cow dairy farm at Midhirst.


"I've entered the Dairy Industry Awards to challenge myself and get some feedback on where I'm currently at," says James.

"It's also a great way to get my name out there and create future opportunities."

James was named runner-up Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year in 2014.

"That helped me build my confidence and broaden my networks within the dairy industry," says James. "It led to a couple of employers phoning me last season to see if I was keen to go and work for them."

"The judges' feedback also helped me improve and grow my skills," he says.

James, a member of Central Taranaki Young Farmers, would like to be 50:50 sharemilking within five years.

It's Buddy Sharpe's first time entering the Dairy Industry Awards.

He's in his first season managing a 180-cow dairy farm at Urenui, which is contract milked by Shaun and Michelle Gardner.


Before shifting to north Taranaki, he was a herd manager on a 600-cow farm in Opunake.

"My boss Shaun encouraged me to enter," says Buddy. "I didn't take him seriously at first.

But after watching videos featuring previous winners and receiving a final nudge from Urenui Young Farmers, I decided to give it a go," he says.

Dairying is in Buddy's blood. His grandfather owns a dairy farm in Inglewood and he's excited by the career prospects.

"I'm hoping to make new friends who I can share ideas with to improve the way I farm," says Buddy.

"The way I see it, entering can only be good for my development and future employment prospects."

South Taranaki Young Farmers members have entered the Share Farmer and Dairy Trainee categories.

Entries for the Dairy Industry Awards close on November 30.