Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : May 2010 Contents The Dairyman MAY 2010 41
THE 12 regional finalists competing for
the New Zealand Farm Manager of the
Year title include one woman, eight
men and three couples.
Maria Carlson, the West Coast Top of the
South representative, stands out as the only
woman and the youngest finalist, at just 24,
in the competition to identify the best dairy
farm manager in the country.
Ms Carlson is also Swedish and has been
in New Zealand just five years, launching her
dairy industry career as a trainee in 2005.
Since then she has progressed up the dairy
farming ladder and is currently a farm man-
ager on a 220ha property milking nearly 600
cows near Havelock, in the Marlborough
She is one of seven farm managers in the
final competing alongside two equity farm
managers and three contract milkers.
The finalists are aged from 24 to 41.
The New Zealand Farm Manager of the
Year competition is part of the New Zealand
Dairy Industry Awards, which also organises
the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year
and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year
competitions. The winners of all three com-
petitions are competing for more than
$130,000 in cash and prizes and will be
announced in Rotorua on May 15.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards
are supported by national sponsors Westpac,
DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers,
Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC,
Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1,
along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.
National convenor Chris Keeping said the
farm manager competition was open to farm
managers, equity farm managers, contract
milkers and equity contract milkers, so long
as they have less than 25 per cent equity in
the farm business.
A farm manager is paid a salary to manage
the farm, whereas an equity farm manager
owns a stake in the farm they are paid a
salary to manage. A contract milker is paid
an agreed amount to manage the farm as well
as to pay some costs associated with running
the farm dairy.
Mrs Keeping said there had been consider-
able interest in Ms Carlson's success because
of her nationality and gender.
"There has never been a female winner in
this competition and men have outnumbered
women in every final. In 2008, we had a
record three females in the final and the best
female result was last year, when our sole
female finalist from the Waikato, Zasha
Osborne, placed second."
She said the diverse range of backgrounds
and farming positions held by this year's
finalists would also make it difficult for the
"We have finalists relatively new to the
industry like Maria, and others who have
been dairy farming for 16 years.
"When this is coupled with the differing
positions held, it will make it tough for
judges to decide how to separate a contract
milker overseeing a 250-cow farm to a farm
manager on a 650-cow farm and an equity
farm manager running a 1500-cow farm.
"There are a lot of variables and that's why
we altered the judging criteria in the human
resource and financial sections of the compe-
tition this year. We wanted to make it a bit
fairer to judge entrants who oversee staff and
finances as well as for those who don't have
staff or make financial decisions."
The 2010 New Zealand Farm Manager of
the Year finalists are:
• Auckland Hauraki -- Paul Mahoney, 33,
• Bay of Plenty -- Russell Meade, 28, farm
• Canterbury North Otago -- Hamish &
Natalie Davidson, both 33, equity farm
• Central Plateau -- Rhys & Pen Bullock,
aged 38 and 36, contract milkers
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa -- Monty Monteith,
38, equity farm manager
• Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua --
Michael & Susanna Booth, 26 and 24, farm
• Northland -- Mark Clements, 41, farm man-
• Otago -- Gareth Ferguson, 30, farm manag-
• Southland -- Don Moore, farm manager
• Taranaki -- Marc Jackson, 24, contract
• Waikato -- William McKnight, 30, contract
• West Coast Top of the South -- Maria
Carlson, 24, farm manager.
The finalists will all undergo a round of
on-farm judging next month, with the last
aspect of the judging, an interview, to be
completed in Rotorua. More information on
each of the finalists can be found at
Swedish woman in final
of dairy farming contest
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