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Sharemilker Winners Have Outstanding Business Plan

An outstanding business plan paved the way for Andrew and Allison Watters to win the 2003 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year title in Auckland last night.

Andrew and Allison Watters, of Pahiatua in Southern Hawke’s Bay, pocketed prizes worth $37,000 when announced winners in front of more than 400 people in the picturesque Alumni Marquee in the grounds of the Old Government House.

The Watters are currently 50:50 sharemilking 330 cows on 93 hectares in Pahiatua, owned by Cynthia Cass and Ian Arbithnott. They also sharemilk a Carterton farm owned by the Budd-Taumata Partnership.

They are set to take ownership of their own 240 cow dairy farm in June.

Judges say the couple’s detailed business plan provided a clear direction for their farm business and was a key factor in their win.

“They knew exactly where they were in relation to that plan and they knew how all the different facets of their farm operation contributed to that plan,” the judges said.

The Watters also have a great understanding of pasture and total feed supply for their farm, contributing to them also winning the Ravensdown Pasture Management Merit Award. They also picked up the Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc Leadership Award and the Bank of New Zealand Financial Management Award.

The judges said the Watters are extremely well organised.

The couple are reasonably new to sharemilking, although they have an academic background spanning some years in the dairy industry.

Andrew Watters is a former supplier liaison officer for Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, which merged to form Fonterra, while Allison Watters has a phD in human nutrition and has worked for the dairy industry in infant nutrition.

The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition is run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc. It is currently in its 15th year and aims to recognise and promote excellence in sharemilking.

The Watters say they entered the competition because they wanted to measure themselves against the best in the industry.

“It was a real challenge that allowed us to do an indepth review of our business and re-evaluate our objectives,” they say.

“The sharemilking system has been absolutely instrumental in our ability to purchase our own farm,” they say.

ACC, Blue Wing Honda, Bank of New Zealand, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement, Ravensdown, Ecolab, RD1, Dairy InSight and Dexcel sponsor the competition.

Second place and prizes worth $7000 went to Andrew and Jackie Siemelink representing the Bay of Plenty region. They are currently sharemilking 270 cows on a 120 hectare farm at Papamoa, owned by Jack and Jill By De Ley. Their goal is to one day own their own 400 cow farm in the Te Puke area.

Third place went to Taranaki Sharemilkers of the Year Peter and Tanya Ford. The Fords sharemilk 290 cows on an 81 hectare property owned by Fonterra director Harry Bayliss and wife Helen. They won $4000 cash.

Merit Award Winners:

- ACC Thinksafe Farm Safety Award – James and Carolyn Houghton of Mangakino

- Bank of New Zealand Financial Management Award – Andrew and Allison Watters, Pahiatau

- Ecolab Farm Dairy Environment – Matthew and Vanessa Richards, Southland

- Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc Leadership Award – Andrew and Allison Watters, Pahiatua

- Fonterra Interview Award – Chris and Paula Riddle, Taramakau

- Livestock Improvement Best Herd Records – Peter and Ginny O’Neill, Milton

- Ravensdown Pasture Management Award – Andrew and Allison Watters, Pahiatua

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