You are currently viewing Hauraki dairy farmers scoop dairy awards
Rita Jeffrey, left, and Finja Philips with their Auckland-Hauraki Dairy Industry awards. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hauraki dairy farmers scoop dairy awards

Hauraki dairy farmers dominated the Auckland-Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards on March 10.
Mangatāwhiri farm manager Finja Philips was named the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year and Rita Jeffrey, of Patetonga, was announced the winner of the region’s Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Isidro Quilla Jr, also of Patetonga, received runner-up in the dairy manager category.
Teagan Gray, who manages a 160 hectare Thames property with 475 cows owned by her parents Neil and Glenda Gray, placed third in the dairy manager category.
Morrinsville farm assistant Cillian Aberhart was named runner-up in the Dairy Trainee category.
Finja, who manages a 190 hectare Mangatāwhiri farm with 452 cows, said she believed the New Zealand dairy Industry had “huge potential”.
“Dairy farming is not just a job, it’s a way of life and farmers really care about our cows and our land,” she said.
“We need to continue to spread our story, share our passion, explain the thoughts, planning and care that goes into our decision-making and continue to share our commitment to making a world-class product on the export market.” The 27-year-old former vet said her and her husband Ryan’s future farming goals included returning to the family dairy farm to work alongside her parents and continue developing the business.
“A big part of the future is also being a bit curious and open to the way it will look – it might have to be radically different than the ‘norm’ or the way it’s previously been done,” she said.
“I want to be on the frontier of this change and help to pave the way for other women to be sole dairy farmers if their partners work off-farm.”
Rita is currently second in charge of a 90 hectare Patetonga farm with 309 cows. The 23-year-old said being a woman in the dairy industry was a challenge but it was satisfying to prove people wrong “and showing them that women do just as good a job as men”.
Future farming goals for Rita included owning a herd of Jersey cows.
“My main goal for farming is just to have a good lifestyle, happy cows and successful seasons,” she said.
“I’d love to have my own breeding lines and even attend some shows or on-farm events with my own animals and managing a farm myself is my next step in this process.”
Isidro Quilla Jr entered the awards programme for the first time to promote responsible dairy farming at a manager’s level.
“I come from a farming family, my dad was a Philippine cowboy and he taught me good stockman skills dealing with all our animals, including our horses, beef cattle, working buffalos, dairy buffalos, pigs, goats and dogs,” he said.
The 40-year-old manager of a 265 hectare Patetonga farm with 830 cows said his future farming goals included establishing financial stability and moving to a contract milking role, with an ultimate goal of a small-herd dairy farm.
While there was no Share Farmer category winner, the judges commended 50:50 Maramarua sharemilkers Crystal Scown and Bailey McSheffrey and awarded them two merit awards.