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The winners of the Canterbury/North Otago New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards were announced on March 4. Reporter David Hill finds out what it takes to win the title. This week, he talks to Trainee of the Year award winner Isaac Vujcich.
In September 2012, Mr Vujcich decided to leave behind his life in Auckland and move to Oxford, where he started work with his uncle Harry Meijer on a 700-cow dairy farm on the north bank of the Waimakariri River.
Last month, Mr Vujcich was named Canterbury/North Otago Trainee of the Year in the region's dairy industry awards.
''No, I didn't expect to win. It was a complete surprise. I know some of the guys in the final, so when they announced third place, then second, I thought `I'd like to see who beat them'. I didn't expect it to be me,'' he said.
Mr Vujcich spent four years working in information technology, then completed a bachelor of business studies degree, majoring in management and marketing, before realising city life was not for him.
''I came down and had a look round and ended up talking to Harry and it turned out his 2IC had just left, so he took me on and this season I became his 2IC.''
Mr Vujcich will be moving to a new 2IC position on a bigger farm in Methven in June, which he was looking forward to. His long-term goal was to buy his own farm.
He said the dairy industry awards had helped him address his weaknesses.
''It has also helped build my confidence in work and in general, and I've enjoyed meeting new people in the dairy industry and building on those relationships.''
Darfield assistant farm manager Brad Fallaver was placed second, while Lincoln assistant manager Adam Vollebregt was third.
Other training awards presented include:
Ngai Tahu Farming Knowledge award - Brad Fallaver.
FarmRight Leadership award - Fiona McRae (Ashburton).
DairyNZ Practical Skills award - Brad Fallaver.