Winners of 2018 Northland Dairy Industry Awards announced
08 March 2018
The 2018 Northland Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners swapped office jobs for dairy farming six years ago and now appreciate the opportunities to grow and be self-employed that the dairy industry offers.
Dan and Gina Duncan were rural valuers and knew the rural lifestyle was one they wanted for their family. “I grew up on a dairy farm, and the importance of common sense and consequences are still able to be learnt by children from a young age,” says Dan. “The freedom for children has changed though with a definite focus on health and safety.”
The couple were named the 2018 Northland Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Forum North Whangarei last night, and won $7000 in prizes. The other major winners were the 2018 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year Sam Moscrip, and the 2018 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Eden Ritchie.
The Duncans have entered the Awards twice previously, with Dan competing in the Waikato Dairy Trainee category in 2013 to gauge how much he had learnt in his first season full-time farming and the couple entering the same region’s Farm Manager competition in 2015.
“We entered to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our business as we wanted to make sure we fully knew what we had before making a decision to move on,” say the couple. “The competition highlighted the balance we were lacking between our financial and personal goals.”
The Duncans believe their strengths lie in a low-input system with all young stock reared on an adjourning run-off. “This allows us to keep more control of our costs,” explains Gina. “We can monitor the progress of our young stock and it also provides options such as AB for our young yearlings.”
“Another strength is our scale and room for growth in numbers, allowing us to grow our equity,” says Dan. “With scale we get the ability to focus more time on management instead of day-to-day jobs, and it also helps when it comes to buying and services.”
The Duncans are 50:50 Sharemilkers for the Pouto Topu A Trust milking 1020 cows on the 460ha Pouto property. Both Dan and Gina, both aged 32, hold Bachelor of Applied Sciences majoring in Rural Valuation and Management, with Dan holding a double major including Agriculture.