A Midhirst herd manager was named Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year at the Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards on Monday night.
James Holgate, 26, is currently Herd Manager for Tony and Lorraine Lash, on their 130ha Midhurst property.
"My first experience of farm life was with my first job as a Farm Assistant when I was 18," says James.
"Coming from a town background has presented some challenges, however I really enjoy farming. I'm always learning and no day is the same. I enjoy the lifestyle and industry."
James believes the strengths of the business lies in a well-developed farm.
"This allows more time to focus on stock and pasture rather than repairs and maintenance," he explains.
"We also have a strong, well-bred herd with better replacements and improved genetics."
Next year James and his partner Tracy will be contract milkers on the same farm, and would like to be 50:50 sharemilkers in five years on a similar size farm.
Second place in the Dairy Manager category went to Hawera senior farm assistant Matthias Hipp who works on Steve and Maria Poole's property.
Third in the Dairy Manager Competition was Carl Hooker. He is currently Dairy Operations Manager on John and Roslyn Weir's Toko property and wants to be an asset to the industry.
"For me to progress up the ladder, I needed to make sure I was worthy of the next step and the Dairy Industry Awards seemed like the best environment for this to happen."
The former youth worker and his wife chose to return to farming to raise their children in the environment.
"We wanted them to learn how to look after the land, the animals and each other in a safe and loving community."
Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham won the Share Farmer of the Year category at the awards dinner held at the TSB Hub in Hawera on Monday night, and say they hope the win will help them achieve their future farming goals of farm ownership or equity partnership.
The couple are in their second season herd-owning sharemilking on Murray and Edna Saxton's 56ha Patea property, milking 180 cows. Hollie, 25, holds a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in Management and has completed two papers towards the PrimaryITO Diploma. Owen, 26, has studied all stages of PrimaryITO, and began his career in the dairy industry at 16 as a farm assistant.
Playing squash and golf gives the couple time away from the farm and an opportunity to relax.
"We are both members of the local Young Farmers club and enjoy attending touch rugby games or events," says Hollie.
Runner-up in the Taranaki Share Farmer of the Year competition was Conna Smith, a 50:50 Sharemilker works on Robert and Verna Bourke's 58ha Patea property, where she milks 194 cows.
Third place in the 2018 Taranaki Share Farmer category went to Benjamin Abbot who is a 29 per cent sharemilker on Alistair, Stephen and Imelda Abbot's 92ha Hawera property, where he milks 317 cows.
The winner of the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year competition, Andrew Trolove, comes from a dairy farming family and grew up on the Opunake 210ha, 610-cow farm he manages now.
He spent his childhood summers bale stacking and relief milking for his father. Having spent time as a sales rep for an agriculture company and travelling overseas, he returned to the family farm last year.
Herd manager Michael Gilligan, 20, was second in the Dairy Trainee competition. Michael works on Kevin and Diane Goble's 160ha property milking 550 cows. Chayce Bailey was third. The 19-year-old is farm manager on Neil and Kim Bailey's 52ha Opunake farm.
The Awards field day is on March 28 at 71 Manawapou Road, RD 2 Patea where Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year, Owen Clegg and Hollie Wham sharemilk. The region's Dairy Manager of the Year, James Holgate and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Andrew Trolove will attend. Further details at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz