New Zealand Dairy Industry Award (NZDIA) Southland judges
Amy and Graeme Johnston, of Underwood, say it is
inspirational to see young farmers moving through the ranks
and entering awards such as the NZDIA. Photo by Leeana
Working for well-known, established farmers can make all
the difference in a farm trainee's career, New Zealand Dairy
Industry Award (NZDIA) Southland judges Amy and Graeme Johnston
The pair, who are sharemilkers and equity farmers in
Underwood, have been preliminary judges for the Southland
awards for the past three years.
They said the passion and enthusiasm for the dairy industry
coming from young people in Southland was exciting to see.
Mr Johnston has judged the trainee section of the awards. He
said trainees would benefit largely if they found a good
employer to work for at the start of their careers.
''The pattern we see is there are a couple of good employers
who train really good staff.
''As a trainee, I think the focus should be more on who you
work for, rather than your wages.
''At the very start, it's not going to make much difference
what your wage is, but you can learn a lot of really good
habits and systems if you work for people who will spend the
time to teach you.
''Sometimes choosing who you work for can be the key to
moving up in the industry.''
Trainees entering the awards were passionate about their
jobs, went out of their way to help out farm owners, and
always used initiative, he said.
Mrs Johnston said it was inspirational to see young farmers
moving through the ranks and entering awards such as the
''There's a lot of different systems and problem solving they
People think outside the square and make the most of their
''The good managers we see are not just milking, they're
managing the vats, planting trees, looking after the farm as
a business and showing leadership with their staff.''
For the Johnstons, the awards were not only about the
recognition of winning an award, but also a great way to
network with others in the industry.
People could often find new jobs without even looking if they
had a wide network, Mrs Johnston said.
While people entering the awards would be nervous during
their two-hour presentation to the judges, it was important
to know the judges were probably just as nervous, she said.
''It takes a bit of concentration to listen to a presentation
for about two hours at a time.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Award National Awards Dinner
and Anniversary Ball will be held on Friday, May 9 in