Tuesday, 01 June 2021 13:55

Migrants proving their worth

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Share Farmers of the Year Manoj Kumar (right) and Sumit Kamboj. Share Farmers of the Year Manoj Kumar (right) and Sumit Kamboj.

A highlight of this year’s Dairy Industry Awards was the high number of migrant workers vying for the national titles.

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj, the 2021 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, are typical of hard-working migrants who come to NZ for a better life.

He says migrants add immensely to their local communities – including training and attracting New Zealanders to dairy careers.

“I think they, and others, underline the quality and talent of migrants who choose our dairy sector in which to reach their dreams,” Hoggard told Rural News.

“Their achievements knock for six those who describe the work they do as low-skilled. As we debate, at national level, the role of migrant workers and border security, the success and contribution to our primary industries of these newcomers to our shores is sometimes overlooked,” he says.

Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj say there are progression pathways in the dairy industry for those who work hard.

The brothers, 50/50 sharemilkers on two farms in Eketahuna, took out the top award at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards night in Hamilton last month.

“There are lot of opportunities in the dairy industry but only if you work hard – like waking up early in the morning,” Manoj Kumar told Rural News.

Manoj, 34, and Sumit, 28, created history by becoming the first pair of brothers to win the coveted title. They moved from India to NZ about 10 years ago.

Judge John Numan says the message he often hears is that there aren’t any progression pathways because it’s too hard.

“But there are,” says Numan. “These people are achieving it because they have the right attitude that encourages their employers to promote and back them in their business.”

The 2021 Dairy Farmer of the Year is Christopher Vila. Philippines-born Vila beat 10 other regional farm manager finalists to pick up the award.

A trained vet, Vila moved to New Zealand 13 years ago. Starting as a farm assistant on a 1,200- cow farm in Reporoa, he worked his way up to his current role seven years ago – a farm manager on a 340-cow family trust farm in Ohaupo, outside Hamilton.

Ruth Connolly, the 2021 Dairy Trainee of the Year, was described by the judges as a polished and engaging person. The judges said she is articulate, considered and concise with a broad understanding of different industry issues.

Connolly is a farm assistant on the Rukuhia Holdings Ltd – 259ha property at Ohaupo, milking 800 cows.

More like this

Cooler reception

OPINION:The reception at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards the following night in Hamilton was slightly less warm for Damien O'Connor.

Dreams can come true

Dream big and work hard to achieve it, says the 2021 Dairy Farmer of the Year, Christopher Vila.

Stalwart honoured

A rural sector stalwart and mentor to many has been recognised for his contribution to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards programme.

Hard work key to progress

There are progression pathways in the dairy industry, one just needs to work hard, says brothers, Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj, the 2021 Share Farmers of the Year.

Do more to attract workers - O'Connor

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has thrown the worker shortage issue back to farmers, saying the industry must try harder to attract and retain workers.

National

Wide price range 'realistic'

Fonterra's wide forecast milk price range for the new season is realistic, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel.

Machinery & Products

Lady muck really does suck

As anyone will attest to – if they’re married to someone with horses, have kids with ponies or are foolish…

The perfect workhorse

Hastings-based Kleer Contractors provides 24-hour machine work and labour for a local food processing plant.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No thanks!

OPINION: A mate of this old mutt's almost choked on his dog tucker when he came across the musings of…

More sunlight

OPINION: Your canine crusader hears that not all is rosy in the world of supposed rural sector congeniality.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter