Fifty-three farmers have entered the 2016 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards, a number regional co-ordinator Aaron Price says is pleasing, especially given the current downturn in dairy incomes.
“Dairy trainee numbers are down on last year which is probably a reflection of the fact some farmers are employing fewer staff.”
The 2016 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards co-ordinator Aaron Price took part in the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman last year.
There are 23 dairy trainees, 16 share farmers and 14 managers vying for the region’s top title, but Aaron says it’s not all about winning.
He entered five times, and was runner-up twice before winning the 2015 Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year award.
“You get twice as much out of the experience as you put in; and being part of the awards is a chance to focus on the positives in the industry too.
“Since entering I’ve improved pasture recording and my health and safety practices, I’ve lifted livestock targets, improved business monitoring and system analysis, and I’m continuing to make improvements.”
Now involved in coordinating the awards, Aaron says he’s gaining even more from the experience including learning new skills and networking with other farmers, leaders from within the industry and sponsors.
Aaron wants to use the experiences gained through the awards to help other young people progress through dairying and “enhance the natural environment with a long-term vision”.
Work-life balance is important to Aaron, whose recreational pursuits – like his occupation – are far from laid back. As well as being a dairy farmer he also competes in ironman events and is a volunteer firefighter for the Tahuna fire brigade.
The 2016 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards dinner is on March 16 at Mystery Creek, Hamilton. Tickets can be purchased online at: www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz