A couple who are passionate about their cows and achieving their goals have won the 2021 Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year title.
Andrea and Blair Muggeridge were announced the winners of the region's Share Farmer of the Year category at the Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua on Wednesday night.
The other big winners were Mark Rivers, who was named the 2021 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, and Tayla Flight, the 2021 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year.
The Muggeridges won the Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year title in 2013 and believed entering the awards had enabled them to analyse their business and put procedures and policies in place.
"It's been an excellent opportunity for us to see the full potential of the farm," they said.
The couple are equity partners with Trevor and Harriet Hamilton, on the Golden Springs 285ha Reporoa property, milking 1080 cows.
They won $14,399 in prizes and five merit awards.
Both Blair and Andrea grew up on dairy farms, and while Andrea chose a path of hotel management and sales for a time, Blair has been farming since leaving school, with a break to complete a building apprenticeship.
"Dairy farming is more of a lifestyle than a normal job. We are passionate about achieving our goals, not only personally but also for the farm."
The couple have faced challenges along the way including reconfiguring the Golden Springs farm in their first year and learning how to build a team that follows the same culture.
The Muggeridges are proud of achieving equity partnership and their successful business with excellent overall production, and are excited about the future of the dairy industry.
"We would like our farm to be a multi-generation business which will enable us to support our children in their future business endeavours."
Runners-up in the Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year competition were Kevin and Monica Campbell who won $4950 in prizes and one merit award.
The couple are 50/50 sharemilkers on the Herewahine Trust 150ha Rotorua property, milking 330 cows and have entered the awards once previously, in 2014.
The winner of the 2021 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year competition, Mark Rivers, is a former Contiki bus driver in Europe and New Zealand who says he entered the awards to gain some perspective on the next step for his family and identify areas to improve.
Rivers lives with his partner and their children on Brett and Karen Sterritt's 98ha 400-cow Atiamuri property where he works as farm manager. He won $8150 in prizes and two merit awards.
The 2021 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year was Tayla Flight who is farm manager for Jared Seymour, milking 220 cows on his Atiamuri farm. She won $6200 in prizes and one merit award.
"I've always wanted a job where I'm happy. I love animals and get to hang out with 220 cows and my dog every single day. If they're happy, I'm happy," she said.
The Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on Wednesday, April 21 at 4054 State Highway 5, Reporoa S/N Miraka 509.
Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Andrea and Blair Muggeridge
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Andrea and Blair Muggeridge
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Aaron and Kathryn Ryan
• Honda Farm Safety, Health and Biosecurity Award – Andrea and Blair Muggeridge
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Andrea and Blair Muggeridge
•Meridian Farm Environment Award – Maurice Bryant
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Andrea and Blair Muggeridge
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Kevin and Monica Campbell
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Ltd Most Promising Entrant – Melissa Russell
• Vetora BOP Employee Engagement Award – Mark Rivers
• Perrin Ag Consultants Ltd Leadership Award – Ben Purua
• I.S Dam Lining Ltd Feed Management Award – Mark Rivers
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Harpreet Shahi Singh
• Fonterra Dairy Management Award – Jaspreet Singh Dhanoa
• NZDIA Power Play Award – Ben Purua
• Westpac Personal Planning and Financial Management Award – Ben Purua
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Piako Tractors Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Tata Jed Te Aho
• T H Enterprises LTD Farming Knowledge Award – Shivpreet Arora
• Rotorua Lakes Council Community & Industry Involvement Awards – Tata Jed Te Aho
• Stretton & Co Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – Du Jean Williams
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Tayla Flight