Couple no strangers to dairy farming awards

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 05:00 15/03/2014

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Charlie and Jody McCaig were second-time winners at last night's gala Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards in Hawera.

In 2011 they won the Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year title and were second in the national contest. This time they won the 2014 Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year award.

The 2014 Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year, Michael Shearer of Kaponga, is also a previous regional winner. He was the West Coast Top of the South Trainee of the Year in 2012 and was third in the national competition.

Taranaki awards convenor Rebecca van den Brand said the winners of the two titles had progressed quickly in their farming careers.

The third major winner was Ben Frost of Hawera, who was named 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The McCaigs milk 500 cows as variable-order sharemilkers on the Taranaki Community Rugby Trust farm near Manaia.

In their fifth season in the industry, they believe their experience outside farming is one of their strengths.

"We changed careers to become dairy farmers. We brought knowledge acquired through employment in other sectors with us, and came to farming without preconceptions," Mr McCaig said.

Mr Shearer, 21, manages a 360-cow farm for Steven and Ann Nicholas, and wants to gain equity in a dairy farm on his way to farm ownership in 10 years. Entering the awards was an opportunity to build his profile in the industry, and he enjoyed making networks with other contestants. he said.

Mr Frost, 21, will become farm manager in June on James Murphy's Hawera dairy farm, where he is currently second-in-charge. He said the award provided opportunities to network with other farmers and success was a good confidence booster.

Patea 50/50 sharemilkers Jason and Gemma Skittrup were second and variable-order sharemilkers Greg and Amanda Bland of Stratford were third in the 2014 Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest.

Hawera farm manager Jayden Harvey of Hawera was second and JJ Atkin of Eltham was third in the Taranaki farm manager contest.

Stratford entrants, James Holgate and Joe Churchman were second and third respectively in the dairy trainee contest.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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