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Being presented the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year award at Stadium Southland on Saturday night, Miss Smail was overcome.
She thanked her family for their support, her bosses Steve and Tracy Henderson for giving her a start in the industry and everybody else she had met along the way.
"I wouldn’t be here without you and every little snippet I’ve picked up from you. Three years ago I did not think this would be possible."
Growing up in Invercargill, it was a passion for animals which led her to the industry, after she had studied as a veterinary nurse and a large animal technician.
She has worked for the Hendersons for the past three years and next season will move into a 2IC position on a different farm.
Off farm, Miss Smail was continuously upskilling, and had studied general skills with Taratahi.She had completed both milk quality and livestock husbandry courses and was working towards primary ITO level 4.
The judges said she was an example that anyone could go dairying and succeed, if they worked hard.
Runner-up was Donna McKinley, of Central Plateau, and third place went to Quinn Youngman, of Auckland-Hauraki.Share Farmer of the Year went to Daniel and Gina Duncan, of Northland.
Runners-up were Chris and Sally Guy, of Auckland-Hauraki, and third place went to Steve Gillies and Amy Johnson, of Waikato.
Dairy Manager of the Year was won by Gerard Boerjan, of Hawke’s Bay-Wairarapa, and second place went to Will Green, of Canterbury-North Otago. Southlander Jaime McCrostie rounded out the top three.