The 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Charlie and Jody McCaig, have used the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards to establish a leading farm business as well as raise their profile.
The result is that in just five years in the dairy industry the couple are now 50% sharemilking 250 cows near Opunake in Taranaki. “We wouldn’t have got this job without the Dairy Industry Awards,” Charlie McCaig says.
“We came into farming in an area where the industry is dominated by established players – families that have been around for generations. We were from outside, so we needed to find a way to give ourselves a profile so we would have a shot at the jobs that we wanted.”
Mr McCaig says entering the awards gave them that shot.
Last month the couple were named winners of the prestigious competition, collecting $55,500 in prizes at a black tie awards event attended by more than 650 people in Auckland.
The Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1 and Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO.
Mr McCaig says entering the awards had assisted them in two ways. “We have used the process of entering the competition to establish our business using the best practice framework right from the start. We had no pre-conceived ideas on how to do things so approached everything fresh and are happy to take whatever is today’s best practice and apply that.”
They also used the competition to network and raise their profile. “Using the competition to build a profile and reputation has really helped in opening doors to people that we would otherwise have never met. The competition has helped us to build a reputation that can carry us forward.”
The couple’s long-term goal is equity growth “so we can enjoy a lifestyle in our 50s that we had in our 20s, but with money!”
Head Judge Leo van den Beuken described the McCaigs as “on top of their game at all times”.
Mr van den Beuken said the couple’s strengths are in their attention to detail, high standards, team work and communication. They also have strong relationships with their staff, encouraging their progression and involving their families.
The couple were the 2011 Taranaki Farm Managers of the Year and were especially excited to win the sharemilker contest in its 25th anniversary year, as the contest began in Taranaki in the 1970s and held its first national competition in 1990.
Source: Dairy Industry Awards