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The farm manager at Mark and Carmen Hurst’s 220ha, 800-cow property at Waimate was initially an information technology student in India.
He came to New Zealand to further his studies and joined the dairy industry in 2015 after a friend told him a job was available as a farm assistant in Mossburn.
"After a couple of months I realised this is the job for me and I started my journey. I worked there for a couple of years as a farm assistant and was a herd manager for them."
Then a second-in-charge position led him to the Waimate role.
Mr Singh was put through a series of questions with the region’s share farmer of the year, Will Green, and dairy trainee of the year, Peter O’Connor, at a field day on April 12 celebrating the winners at the Hinds farm where Mr Green holds his lower-order sharemilking position.
Working on his strengths and weaknesses after his first entry in the dairy awards last year paid off and now he is looking forward to contesting the national finals.
"My social networks are increasing and it’s helped me know my farm better and I’ve managed to benchmark my performance within the industry."
"I’m going to be the farm manager again this season and [my wife Ruby and I] are also planning to have another baby. Up next we are planning to go variable order sharemilking for the same farm. Long term goals are to go 50:50 sharemilking after the sixth season of variable order sharemilking. That’s the plan and at the end we would like to be a farm owner."
Another goal is to see family again in India after Covid-19 restrictions settle, as it’s been six years since he last visited.
- Mr O’Connor is also preparing hard for the finals as the region’s dairy trainee of the year champion.
The Westport-born 23-year-old first sat on a tractor as an eight-year-old.
He committed to dairy farming after deciding at high school that engineering wasn’t for him.
"I was lucky enough at university to get a DairyNZ scholarship so I thought I’d better do something with dairying. I grew up on a dairy farm and all my holidays I would help Dad."
Other stints saw him work on a sheep and beef farm and contract harvesting in Australia.
Now he is second-in-charge at Leighton and Michelle Pye’s 242ha, 900-cow Mayfield property. Next season he will be managing a 400-cow farm near Lauriston.
Another inspiration was his grandfather, John O’Connor who developed a dairy farm in the bush on the West Coast and was a director for 47 years for the dairy company which became Westland Milk Products.
He enjoys working outside with animals and the variety of work that comes with dairy farming.
In five years he would like to own some cows.
"I know if I put in the hard work now there’s some great opportunities out there in the future."
This was his first entry in the Dairy Industry Awards.
"I always wanted to have a go and see how I compare with other people who are also starting their dairy careers ... I think I have a better understanding of what I don’t know and it’s given me confidence in what it seems I do know."
He said he would have to step up at the finals and was looking forward to the challenge.