4 Mar 2015

Dairy awards regional finals

2:05 pm on 4 March 2015

The annual dairy industry awards are underway and the first regional finals have been held.

The top awards for the North Island central plateau, have all gone to South African-born people, who came to New Zealand for careers in dairying.

Nathan and Elri Levin

Nathan and Elri Levin Photo: Supplied

The Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the year, Johan and Theona Blom are 50 percent sharemilking at Ngakuru after emigrating to New Zealand in 2008.

While Farm Managers of the Year are Nathan and Elri Levin, who are contract milking in Tokoroa.

The couple left the adventure sport and wine industries in South Africa eight years ago and are planning to go sharemilking next year.

Central plateau dairy trainee of the year is Gerard van der Mark.

The 22-year-old is second in charge on a 900 cow Mangakino farm and has a goal of owning his first farm by the age of 35.

Gerard van der Mark

Gerard van der Mark Photo: Supplied

Opotiki couple, Grant and Karley Thomson, have won the Bay of Plenty Sharemilker-Equity Farmer title.

They say entering the awards has helped them to get a new sharemilking position, to which they will move in June. Their long-term goal is farm ownership in 10 years.

Johan & Theona Blom

Johan & Theona Blom Photo: Supplied

Contract milking is the next step for the Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year, Jodie Mexted, who works on her parent's Whakatane farm.

And the region's farm trainee of the year is Jeff White, whose aim is to become a sharemilker.