16 May 2011

North Island farmers dominate dairy industry awards

1:54 pm on 16 May 2011

Providing training for his staff and making them an integral part of the farming operation set this year's dairy farm manager of the year apart from the rest.

Jason Halford manages a dairy farm near Palmerston North, milking 440 cows and was named national farm manager of the year at the Dairy Industry awards in Queenstown on Saturday night.

He says he has systems, policies and procedures for nearly everything on the farm, and his two staff are fully involved in the process.

Mr Halford says he is working towards farm ownership, and is taking on a 50-50 sharemilking position next month.

In the other awards, Waikato sharemilkers, Jason and Lisa Suisted won the top title, the New Zealand sharemilker/equity farmers of the Year, while Hawke's Bay farm assistant Ben Smith is this year's dairy trainee of the Year.

Ben Smith says it's his second season in the industry, and his early success has prompted him to increase his equity all the way through to farm ownership.

Jason and Lisa Suisted are 50-50 sharemilkers, milking 430 cows at Gordonton, near Hamilton. They say the win tops a huge week for them - as they also had their third child.