Emma Lewin with her award, wearing the jacket she won as Tararua Shepherd of the Year on Friday April 27 at the Greenhill Station Field Day.
Four candidates — two men and two women competed for the title of Tararua Shepherd of the Year 2018.
At the Greenhill Station Field Day on Friday April 27 Emma Lewin was declared the winner.
According to judge Damian Reynolds of Totaranui Angus each was put through their paces in a rigorous two-hour assessment on the properties where they currently work.
This involved both practical skills such as stock handling and shearing as well as knowledge of the industry and operation of the farm they work on.
Damian said that if his three children grow up as dedicated to the industry as these four candidates he would be very happy.
Emma received $5000 made up of cash, products and services from the sponsors.
Emma works at Pohuetai Farms as a shepherd based on the Tara and Papahau blocks, running the commercial 2th flock and trading livestock.
Emma completed Ag training at Taratahi, achieving a Level 2 and 3 sheep and beef certificate and level 4 sheep certificate.
While working full time Emma studied two nights per week for two years to gain a Lincoln Diploma in Agriculture.
She is currently sitting level 5 production management through the PITO.
Emma has been shepherding for seven years working on a station in the Rakaia Gorge in mid-Canterbury, then on a Landcorp Block at Te Anau before leaving New Zealand, travelling and working in Scotland and gaining a good idea of how they farm and how NZ meat exports fit into their market.
She has been in her current role for 16 months.
"Emma really impressed us with her technical knowledge around animal health, pasture covers, and target feeding levels," the judges said.
"Emma was able to share a lot of detail about mob sizes, current live weights, rotation lengths and had a clear understanding of what these details would look like in six months' time. Emma's drive and curiosity to keep learning really impressed us, with the determination and dedication shown to achieve further education whilst working full time."
This was the second time Emma had entered the contest and she said that the first time helped as she did not know what to expect. She was surprised at the extensive knowledge she had to know about farm operations and for the next year she grilled her boss to get up to speed.
She thanked the staff at Pohuetai for always encouraging her in developing her skills and for treating her the same as the boys.
Emma hopes winning Tararua Shepherd of the Year will launch her career.
She wants first to progress to head shepherd before going on to stock manager.