Gore farm manager James Matheson has been acknowledged for giving his staff a "head-start'' in the industry.

Matheson (26) was named runner-up in the Dairy Manager of the Year at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in Wellington at the weekend.

He is the manager on Chris Lawlor's 290ha, 700-cow property, and the pair have been endeavouring to help other young people follow a similar career path.

Staff were encouraged to put overtime pay into stock - which would then be raised with the other young stock and milked into the herd - to increase their equity.

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That was a similar pathway to that Matheson had used for his own equity growth, which allowed him to purchase a neighbouring 35ha block last season.

The national award judges noted Matheson's casual, relaxed style, describing him as an extremely capable manager who ran the farm for an overseas-based owner.

"James is goal driven and has achieved many goals he set himself years ago. He places staff as top priority and encourages them to better themselves.

"He's basically jumpstarting his staff, giving them a head-start on other people in the industry,'' judge Malcolm Scott from Westpac said.

Matheson, who also won the Meridian Energy leadership merit award, won $11,400 in prizes.

Colin and Isabella Beazley, from Northland, were named 2019 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Matt Redmond (Canterbury) was Dairy Manager of the Year, and Nicola Blowey (Canterbury) was Dairy Trainee of the Year.