A Mid-Canterbury couple in only their second season milking their own herd have won top Share Farmers of the Year 2017.
Blake Korteweg, a young herd manager from Otago, in 2010 entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and won the Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year competition.
Later that year at the national awards gala dinner in Rotorua he was named 2010 Dairy Trainee of the Year.
It was the first time Korteweg had entered the awards.
“I entered to benchmark where I was compared to others at my level and to get my name out there for potential jobs,” he said.
The win gave Korteweg the confidence to pursue career goals and reassured him he was on the right track.
The win provided valuable career opportunities, but it is still up to the individual to use it as a springboard for career progression, he says.
“I used it especially to help network and mix with some top people in the industry who want to help and have lots of knowledge to give.
“The win gave me a boost of confidence to take the next step.”
The next step for Korteweg was to 20% share milking on the same farm, building equity along the way, then moving to 30% share milking for two seasons. His quest required him to relocate to Southland to 50/50 sharemilk on a 500-cow farm where he now lives.
Korteweg believes the awards accelerated his learning and growth.
“If I hadn’t won I think maybe I would still be where I am now, but it’s certainly made the progression easier,” he said.
“The awards gave me a boost of enthusiasm for the industry and the opportunities to put me amongst the people I needed around me to help guide and push me to progress.”
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards encompass the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. The national sponsors are Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab,
Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and industry partner Primary ITO.
Entries for the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards open in October.
• For more information, entry criteria and regional dates visit www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz