Hokianga sharemilkers win dairy award

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WINNERS: Trish and Glen Rankin are the 2016 Northland Share Farmers of the Year. PICTURE/SUPPLIED
WINNERS: Trish and Glen Rankin are the 2016 Northland Share Farmers of the Year. PICTURE/SUPPLIED

Hokianga sharemilkers Glen and Trish Rankin were named 2016 Northland Share Farmers of the Year at the region's dairy industry awards dinner at Forum North in Whangarei on Saturday night.

Other major winners were Brendon Davison, of Mata, judged 2016 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year, and Christina Aitken, of Ruawai, the 2016 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Glen and Trish Rankin have been dairy farming since 2000. Aged 38, they are now 50-50 sharemilking 265 cows for Michael Moss at Mangamuka.

The couple, who won $12,000 in prizes, have four young sons and have worked in Canterbury and Hawkes Bay. It was the fourth time they had entered the awards, placing third in the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa regional competition in 2014 and 2015.

Before entering the industry Mr Rankin worked as a livestock officer for the Ministry for Primary Industries and Mrs Rankin was a teacher in a deputy principal position until 2014.

Their goal is farm ownership within five years.

The runners-up in the Northland Share Farmer of the Year competition were Ruakaka 50-50 sharemilkers, Damian and Rochelle Dixon, who won $9250 in prizes.

The 2016 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year, Brendon Davison, plans to go into partnership with his brother in order to progress faster in the industry.

Mr Davison, 30, herd manager on a 450-cow Mata farm owned by Graeme and Shirley Hewlett, won $8250 in prizes.

A solo father with two children, he says he aims to be a positive role model and appreciates the support of his employers.

"I'm very driven and passionate about the fact that I'm not only raising my kids by myself but that I am also able to do what I love, which is being a dairy farmer."

Mr Davison has gained a range of Primary ITO qualifications and is also active in kickboxing and weight training.

"I spend a lot of time on personal development and want to be the strongest and smartest version of myself."

Whangarei Heads herd manager, Jared Dean, 26, was second in the Dairy Manager competition winning $4100 in prizes, while Hikurangi farm manager Balkaran Singh Sran, 28, was third, winning $3500 in prizes.

The 2016 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Christina Aitken, is planning her dairy industry career pathway and aims to be a herd manager within a couple of years.

"I really enjoy being a part of the dairy industry - even those early mornings - and I can't wait to grow and progress."

The 21-year-old is currently a farm assistant for Kris and Renee Gatehouse on a 340-cow Ruawai farm owned by Barry and Heather Bowers. She won $7025 in prizes.

Miss Aitken plans to purchase her first heifers in the next season and progress through farm management to sharemilking.

The Dairy Trainee runner-up is 20-year-old Wellsford farm assistant, Kurtis Danks, winning $3700 in prizes, while third place went to Sarah Powell, an 18-year-old Titoki farm assistant, winning $1250 in prizes.

The Northland Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on March 29 on the farm where Glen and Trish Rankin sharemilk. More details are on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz

- Northland Age

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