Emma and Hamish Day were named 2022 Share Farmer of the Year at the Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill on Saturday night.
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SUPPLIED 2022 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry award winners, from left, Aidan Roe, Hamish Day, Emma Day, and Laura Murdoch.

The Days, who contract milk 700 cows for Peter and Maria Clinton on their 220ha property at Mabel Bush just out of Invercargill, picked up the honour at the event held at Bill Richardson’s Transport World.

They claimed $13,176 in prizes plus four merit awards on Saturday night.

The couple, both 36, left Wellington in 2011 to enter the dairy industry. Hamish was a builder and Emma worked at AMP Financial Services before making the move.

“Hamish was a city boy all his life but had a taste of farming through my family who are dairy farmers and he really enjoyed the diversity,” Emma said.

The couple would like to see stronger promotion of the dairy industry in schools.

“Coming from an urban school in Wellington, Hamish never knew of the dairy industry as a career choice and was only offered information about trades.”

“It’s such an amazing career path as it provides so much diversity, it’s not just cows and grass.”

Although there have been some tough times.

“We faced financial pressure in 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons with the low pay-out when we were LOSM [lower order sharemilkers], however, we came out of it in good financial shape after watching our budgets.”

“We try to use everything as a lesson, and it’s never a negative. It’s the only way to grow when you’re uncomfortable.”

Their future goals include another contract milking position with the ultimate goal of farm ownership.

The other big winners on Saturday night were Laura Murdoch who was named the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Aidan Roe the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Murdoch, is 2IC for Chris Reilly on his 83ha, 230-cow Mokotua property, and was delighted to be named winner of the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year on Saturday night.

The former accountant aims to be a leader in the industry and inspire others with her journey.

“I’d love to showcase the joys and highlights of dairy farming, it’s a very rewarding industry to be a part of.”

“I’d love to help remove some of the wrongly-assumed stigma that’s often associated with dairying.”

Aidan Roe, Dairy Trainee of the Year, believed it was awesome to be a young person in the dairy industry.

He is farm assistant on Peter Sanford’s 200ha Winton property, milking 560 cows.

Roe has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University and felt the pandemic had shown the world how important the food and fibre sectors are.

“I will be part of the generation of farmers that will have to make some pretty big changes to the industry to suit consumers’ demands,” he said.

Two more local dairies are getting out after another tough year.

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