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Top honours for local farmers

Top honours for local farmers
Jaspreet Singh won the 2024 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year award. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Two Mid Canterbury farmers took out top honours during the glitzy Year of the Dragon-themed Canterbury/ North Otago Dairy Industry Awards, held in Ashburton on Wednesday night.

Jaspreet Singh, a farm manager on Farmright Ltd’s 382-hectare, 1415-cow property at Ashburton, won the 2024 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year category.

Singh, who won $6500 plus two merit awards and came third in the same category in2021, says he was excited by the result.

“I’ve worked pretty hard for the last couple of years, but I also want to thank my farm team. We all do things together.”

Singh originally came to New Zealand to study business management, but with a farming background and seeing opportunities, he decided to pursue a career in dairy farming.

“Farming has lots of challenges but I’m proud I have progressed to manager of a large-scale farm from beginning with no experience.”

Singh thanked his employer, Farmright Ltd, for “giving him the tools to improve” and is looking forward to the national finals in Queenstown in May.

“I’m going to give it a good shot at the nationals, but I still want to do the same thing I do every day, to farm better. That’s my goal.”

The 2024 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year award went to Monique Radford, a first-time entrant and Ashburton farmer.

Radford, a herd manager on Leighton and Michelle Pyes’ 241-hectare, 900-cow property, collected $6500 in prizes and two merit awards.

Radford said she wasn’t expecting to even make it into the top six when entering.

“It was so competitive this year, so it’s an awesome feeling to have won it.

“I’m proud of myself.”

Radford said she was nervous about the skills part of the competition, but the judges put her at ease and she finished the day feeling confident. The interview process also gave her the opportunity to revisit her goals.

“It was good to see how far I have come since I started working here and how much my life has changed since then.”

Radford is taking some time off the farm to enjoy a well-earned trip to Rarotonga before she returns to focus on preparing for the national finals.

“Once I’m back, I’ll get stuck into it, start practising my practical skills again, and ask my manager, Hamish, to help me with some other things I might not be so confident about.”

The supreme winner of the awards was Leeston farmer Alan da Veiga, who was announced as the 2024 Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmer of the Year.

By Claire Inkson