Dairy Industry Awards’ Waikato region Share Farmer of the Year Chelsea Smith returned to her Canterbury dairy farming roots after initially pursuing a career combining winemaking with travel.
The qualified Artificial Insemination technician now manages an 1100-cow herd for Green Valley Farms in Honikiwi, and is responsible for five staff.
While she didn’t take out the national title in her category, Chelsea did picked up three other merit awards at 2018’s regional Waikato Dairy industry Awards.
The Staples Rodway Employee Engagement Award identifies the good culture she created in her current position. The 2018/2019 season will see Chelsea in her first contract milking season.
“The move from employee to employer will be a challenge,” says Chelsea. “But work/life balance and ensuring your set up offers freedom of time is a top priority for me.”
She also received the ADM Feed Management Award, the Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award and the Primary ITO Power Play Award.
Chelsea and partner, Jarrod Davies, are both focusing on farm ownership together and working towards that goal. They are careful to diversify their investments and Jarrod works away from the farm, running his own building company.
“It is important to push yourself, but not too hard,” says Chelsea. “Flexibility around timeframes, and not putting all your eggs in one basket is a good approach.”