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Award winners look to the future

Award winners look to the future
Southland Otago Dairy Industry Award winners Shannon Butler, Nicole Hanning-Smith, Cameron Smith and Andrew Hazlett. Supplied.

Awarua farmers Cameron Smith and Nicole Hanning-Smith have been announced as the 2024 Dairy Industry Awards Southland/Otago Share Farmers of the Year.

The winners were announced at an awards dinner in Invercargill on March 27.

Andrew Hazlett was named the 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Shannon Butler was named the 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Cameron Smith said the awards process has helped provide an in-depth understanding of their farming business.

"It helps you understand exactly where you are, and then you can take that advice and start planning and making decisions on where you want to go, not just next season but in five to fifteen years."

The couple are contract milkers for Steve and Tracy Henderson on their 215-hectare, 580-cow Awarua property. They won $7900 in prizes and three merit awards.

Smith said the couple credits the Hendersons with helping them progress in their dairy farming careers.

"In the next ten or fifteen years, we want to lease a farm and have our own operation.

"We have had many good mentors in the industry.

"Steve and Tracy are unreal people; they've helped us develop a lot, and we want to be able to give back and help someone else one day."

Smith said that with the winners' field day, held on April 10, out of the way, the couple will concentrate on preparing for the national finals by going over the judges' feedback.

"The awesome thing about the Dairy Industry Awards is that everyone is open to giving information and helping everyone succeed."

Smith said the awards had allowed him to connect with others in the industry he wouldn't have had a chance to meet otherwise.

"All of a sudden, there are all these past winners that you can call, and they are more than happy to share their experiences and get you on the right track.

"Not only for judging but also for getting them to look into your business."

Andrew Hazlett, who was named 2024 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, won $6,950 in prizes plus one merit award and is the farm manager on Paul and Rachel Diprose's 208-hectare, 570-cow Thornbury property.

Shannon Butler, who was named 2024 Southland Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, is a farm assistant on Allan and Kaye Wilson's 200-hectare Invercargill property. She milks 600 cows and won $6,950 in prizes and one merit award.

2024 Southland/Otago Merit Awards

Share Farmer Merit Awards:

  • DairyNZ – People and Culture Award : Hayden & Alienor Diack
  • Ecolab Total Farm Hygiene Award : Hayden & Alienor Diack
  • Federated Farmers Leadership Award : Oliver & Lauren Badcock
  • Honda Farm Safety, Health and Biosecurity Award:  Oliver & Lauren Badcock
  • LIC – Animal Wellbeing, Recording and Productivity Award : Jerome Montes
  • Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award : Cameron Smith & Nicole Hanning-Smith
  • Ravensdown Sustainable Pasture Award: Cameron Smith & Nicole Hanning-Smith
  • ASB Business Performance Award:  Cameron Smith & Nicole Hanning-Smith
  • McIntyre Dick Emerging Talent Award: George Mushchamp

Dairy Manager Merit

  • DeLaval Livestock Management Award:  Andrew Hazlett
  • Fonterra Dairy Management Award: Regan Smith
  • Landpro Environmental Sustainability Award:  Jeremy Tyler
  • Dairy Holdings Pasture & Feed Management Award:  Dilpreet Singh
  • AWS People & Leadership Award:  Regan Smith
  • CowManager Personal Planning & Financial Management Award: Dilpreet Singh
  • Regional Ford Emerging Talent Award:  Baljit Singh

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

  • DairyNZ Practical Skills Award:  Corey Hirst
  • NZDIA Southland/Otago Emerging Talent Award:  Erin Harland Christie
  • FarmRight Farming Knowledge Award:  Shannon Butler
  • VetSouth Communication & Industry Involvement Award:  Sharna Durry

by Claire Inkson