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Passion For Farming Drives Top Regional Farm Manager

An ongoing passion for dairying has resulted in Palmerston North farmer Brent Pocock winning the top dairy farm manager award for the Lower North Island.

Mr Pocock won the RD1 Farm Manager Award category at the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards in Palmerston North last night.

The 28-year-old has been in the dairy industry for ten years and is a previous winner of the Allen Mead Memorial Trophy for delivering high standards of milk quality.

His passion for the industry during that time has grown, though he warns his choice of career is not for the faint hearted.

"It requires strength of character, passion, and commitment, an uncompromising dedication, knowledge of business finances, current agricultural standards and practices, commodity trading and prices at both a local and international level.

"And a family who are committed, understanding and supportive."

Mr Pocock manages 1400 cows on 462ha of land spread over three farms for Braeden and Caroline Whitelock. He also oversees seven staff.

His goals for the properties he manages are to increase production, farm to high standards, farm to a profit goal, and create a great working environment.

Mr Pocock's achievements will be measured against six others when he competes for the national farm manager title in Hamilton on June 27, which recognises emerging talent in the industry and offers $5000 in prizes.

Awards Chairman and Fonterra Director Jim van der Poel says the awards aim to raise the performance of Fonterra's 17,000-farmer supply base to assist them in achieving the 3% annual productivity challenge outlined in Fonterra's strategy.

"A strong theme of the strategy is to remain the world's lowest cost producer of commodity milk products, which requires Fonterra suppliers to continue to develop efficiencies on farm."

Westpac General Manager Business Banking Bruce McLachlan says another aim of the awards is to profile dairy industry excellence and promote information exchange, through benchmarking and best practice.

"We believe recognising the best the dairy industry has to offer encourages innovation and sets the benchmark for this country's drive into global markets."

The farm manager award has been introduced to the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards - which have the support of Dexcel and are sponsored by Fonterra, Westpac, Holden, Pioneer, Ravensdown, RD1, DTS, Livestock Improvement, and Fegan and Co - to recognise the important role farm managers play in the industry.

The awards are run in seven regions, with the winners of the farm business and farm manager categories in each region progressing to the national final.

Tickets are available on 0800 273 759 or online at www.dairyexcellenceawards.co.nz where further information on the awards is also available.

Other Lower North Island winners were: Farm Business - Michael and Heather Burmeister Business Growth - Michael and Heather Burmeister Quality Management - Noel and Rosemary Chilcott Environment - Noel and Rosemary Chilcott Lifetime Achievement - Jim Thwaites




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