Several Manawatū Share Farmer of the Year entrants made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2022 category, leaving the Manawatū with one entrant.
Traditionally, when a region has low entrant numbers, places are only offered to winner and runner-up, or just the winner only, and when entrant numbers were very low, the category did not proceed.
This year, after consultation with the entrants, who were keen to participate and benefit from the programme, the Manawatū Share Farmer entrant scores were benchmarked against the national average, with data collated from the 10 other regions. This meant the merit awards were awarded if the entrant achieved at the right level and final placing awarded on that basis.
Runners-up in the 2022 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year category are a brother and sister who say the family-based business means there are diverse skillsets which help with the farming operation.
Callum and Megan Bates were named the Runners-up in the 2022 Manawaū Share Farmer category at the region’s annual awards announced in Palmerston North.
Megan and Callum won $6,815 in prizes and a clean sweep of eight merit awards. They are both 20% equity partners in their family business, JonBay Farms Ltd, which leases Gail and Kevin Russell’s 70ha, 185-cow property at Tokomaru, where Callum is employed as farm manager. The future of the dairy industry looks bright to the siblings, who come from a farming family.
“We’re excited we have a premium product that is recognised overseas. The industry is now moving towards sustainability which we have always tried to do.”
The siblings entered the Awards programme to have an in-depth look at their business and to challenge and develop themselves. “We wanted to see if our succession plan was getting us where we needed to be.”
Callum (29) holds a Certificate in Agriculture and has been managing the lease farm for the past 13 years and is proud to have turned it into a well-performing farm. Megan (35) holds a Bachelor of Education and works as a rural professional and on-farm in a part-time role. Callum and Megan identify extreme weather events as challenges in their farming business, along with increasing prices that make ‘small’ farming difficult.
“The animals are always front-of-mind for us and we are up every day to ensure they are fed, watered and happy.”
“Seeing the progress you have made is always a good feeling and keeps you ticking when times get tough,” they say.
The siblings identify their team as a strength of their farming business. “We have a team that is passionate about the industry and strives to do the best they can on-farm.”