Alex Sainty may have grown up in town, but his passion for ‘getting out there and doing’ has won him the Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year title at this year’s Dairy Industry Awards. He won $5250 in prizes and two merit awards, after placing third in the category last year.
Born in Rotorua, Alex and his family moved to the Kapiti Coast when he was young. He decided dairy farming sounded more engaging than school, so he took his future into his own hands.
“I was about halfway through Year 13 and I didn’t want to go to school anymore and I thought farming might be a good option – it’s outdoors and it involves a lot of machinery,” says Alex.
At age 17, he enrolled at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre to study a Level 3 dairy farming course.
Partway through, Alex decided to leave and take up a full-time position as a farm assistant on a 750-cow, System 4 dairy farm in Te Awamutu.
Alex says his first employer is one of his key sources of inspiration. “Someone who inspires me is my first boss, Chris Numan. He just really took the time to teach me everything and he really taught me how to drive a tractor properly, and that’s really helped in my life and my career.”
Today the 21-year-old is assistant manager for Peter Overdevest and Tania Akehurst on their 390-cow, 132ha property at Galatea, and has completed Level 3 Primary ITO courses.
Alex’s biggest piece of advice to youth considering dairying is: “Don’t really think of it as a dumb person’s job, because it’s not. It’s a rewarding career and you do progress through it”.