Good staff as well as diversification plays a big part of running a successful business, the winners of the 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year believe.
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SUPPLIED The top five finalists for 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year.

Sam and Karen Bennett were announced the winners via video link on the region’s Facebook page on Saturday night.

The pair were awarded $10,850 in prize money as well as two merit awards.

The Bennetts, who are contract milkers for a 630 cow farm in Wyndham, both come from farming backgrounds.

“Diversification is a key strength of our business. As well as running two farms, we have also diversified into investment properties, which helps reduce any risk,” Sam said.

Purchasing four investment properties was a huge achievement for us. We’re also proud we achieved our goal of record milk solid production on one of our farms, which was a massive accomplishment for us and our team.”

But while they’ve had their successes, the Bennetts also acknowledge there have been challenges to overcome, with their biggest being the flooding of the Mataura River at the beginning of February.

“We’ve never experienced flooding this bad. Dealing with the aftermath was very challenging as we had 100 hectares go under water, which meant we had 100 hectares to clean up afterwards.”

Runners-up for the category went to Otautau farm owners Cameron and Cassandra Spencer, who won $6000, and third place was awarded to Drummond contract milkers Craig McGregor and Olivia Gorton, who won $4000.

Other big winners announced on the night were Eugene de la Harpe, who was named the Manager of the Year, and Nikayla Dodd, who was named Trainee of the Year.

Share Farmer Merit Award winners:
DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Miguel Ortiz and Maka Morales
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Samuel and Karen Bennett
Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Matt and Sarah McKenzie
Honda Farm Safety, Health and Biosecurity Award – Craig McGregor and Olivia Gorton
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Cameron and Cassandra Spencer
Meridian Farm Environment Award – Craig McGregor and Olivia Gorton
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Cameron and Cassandra Spencer
Westpac Business Performance Award – Samuel and Karen Bennett
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
Landpro Most Promising Entrant – Cole Henwood
Shand Thomson Encouragement Award – Kayleigh Cleary
McIntyre Dick and Partners Employee Engagement Award – Gonzalo Bascur
FMG Leadership Award – Carol Booth
Vetsouth Feed Management Award – Eugene de la Harpe
DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Carol Booth
Fonterra Dairy Management Award – Eugene de la Harpe
PrimaryITO Power Play Award – Eugene de la Harpe
Westpac Personal Planning and Financial Management Award – Gonzalo Bascur
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
AWS Most Promising Entrant Award – Nicole Barber
MilkMap Farming Knowledge Award – Josh Cochrane
Agricentre South Community and Industry Involvement Award – Krishan Ranui Dick Karetai
Advance Agriculture Communication and Engagement Award – Nicole Coulter
DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Nikayla Dodd

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today applauded the Biden administration for its initiation of a second U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute panel concerning Canada’s ongoing refusal to meet its USMCA dairy trade obligations.

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