Diversity valued as business strength

The 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards share farmers of the year are Sam and Karen...
The 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards share farmers of the year are Sam and Karen Bennett. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A qualified artificial insemination technician and former builder were named the winners of the 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year.

Sam and Karen Bennett, who milk 630 cows on Andrew and Jenny Calder’s 223ha farm in Wyndham, believe diversification and excellent staff are two major strengths of their successful business.

"We went contract milking in 2016, and are currently contract milking two separate farms," Mr Bennett said.

"Diversification is a key strength of our business. As well as running two farms, we have also diversified into investment properties which helps reduce any risk."

The awards were announced via video link on the region’s Facebook page last weekend — a necessary change due to Covid-19.

Mr and Mrs Bennett both came from farming backgrounds, with Mr Bennett working as a qualified builder before entering the dairy industry in 2014.

Mrs Bennett trained and worked as an AI technician while studying towards her degree in science, (majoring in animal science).

She has been the Southland area Fertilizer New Zealand representative for the past nine years.

The Bennetts acknowledged there were challenges to overcome, with their biggest being the flooding from the Mataura River at the beginning of February.

Other winners were Eugene de la Harpe who was named Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Nikayla Dodd, Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

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