NZ trip becomes win-win situation

Nicola Blowey is setting herself goals in the dairy industry. Photo: Supplied
Nicola Blowey is setting herself goals in the dairy industry. Photo: Supplied
Nicola Blowey's decision to come to New Zealand from the United Kingdom is paying off.

The Fairlie woman was named the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year at the National Dairy Awards in Wellington recently.

Together with the other winners, Colin and Isabella Beazley, of Northland, the Share Farmers of the Year, and Matt Redmond, of Culverden, Dairy Manager of the Year, she took a share of prizes worth over $210,000

Miss Blowey (25) arrived in New Zealand in July 2016 and is employed by Matthew and Vanessa Greenwood as an assistant herd manager on Kieran and Leonie Guiney's 600-cow, 175ha Fairlie property.

''I come from Devon and graduated from Harper Adams University in Shropshire.''

The university provides higher education for the agricultural and rural sector and is set within a 550ha working farm.

''I came out here for a year to learn about grass-fed systems. In the UK we have quite a range of systems.

''I was going to do some travelling and it seemed a good opportunity to learn something new.''

After arriving, she enjoyed it so much her stay has been longer than was earlier anticipated.

She also found that in the Mackenzie area there was a strong community of young farmers which was not necessarily the case in other parts of the country.

Working on a dryland farm in the high country brought its own challenges, she said.

''Calving is very busy when we're milking both ends of the day.

''We try to create efficient systems to get us through.''

Winning the trainee award before a crowd of nearly 600 people in Wellington was a great thrill, although she had some expectation it might happen.

Last year, Miss Blowey had attended the national awards when Will Green, who sharemilks one of the other farms owned by Keiran and Leonie Guiney, finished second in the dairy manager section.

Last year, he also won the Canterbury-North Otago dairy manager of the year award.

''We have never worked on the same property, but are part of the wider Guiney team.

''Myself and some of the other staff and friends attended the awards dinner in Invercargill as supporters.

''He is also from England and attended the same university as myself, although a year or two before I did.''

Miss Blowey hoped to take on a manager's position next month subject to sorting out her visa, and has some long-term goals.

''Becoming a manager will open a lot of options for me.

''I could start my own business and be in a profitable business which would allow progression for young people coming into dairying.''

While in Wellington for the national awards, Miss Blowey and other finalists visited farms in the region and in Wairarapa, which was informative in terms of what was being done to protect the environment.

''We saw there is heaps of work being done, especially on leaching.

''There are a lot of technologies out there and things farmers can do which aren't going to be a multimillion-dollar investment.''

Judges in the national dairy awards described Miss Blowey as a confident, mature and compelling young woman.

''She has a mature outlook and her communication skills were exceptional,'' head judge Jenny Sinclair, of Te Awamutu, said.

-By Chris Tobin

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