The 2021 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year are driven, professional and high-achieving siblings who benchmark excellence within the industry.
It is the first time a pair of siblings have won the national title.
Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj from Eketahuna were named the 2021 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Waikato’s Christopher Vila became the 2021 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Ruth Connolly from Waikato won the title of 2021 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.
The winners were announced in front of 650 guests at a black-tie awards dinner at Hamilton’s Claudelands Event Centre on Saturday 15 May and shared prizes from a pool worth over $210,000.
Share Farmer head judge, Jacqui Groves from Westpac, said Manoj and Sumit impressed the judges with glowing reports from current and past employers and employees.“They have amazing relationships with two sets of owners, who really believe in them and are following the boys’ dream.”
The judges were also impressed with their on-farm presentation, which used drone footage from their family farm in Northern India to explain their history and where they are from.
“They literally took us there,” said Jacqui.
Waikato farmers Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma were named the 2021 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.
The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.
“We had three outstanding finalists. For an award that is choosing ambassadors for the dairy industry we couldn't have been more spoilt for choice,” said judge Charlotte Rutherford from Fonterra.
“Pete and Ann are very well-rounded with a high-level of current knowledge, especially around climate change, their emissions profile and tracking that over time,” said the judges.
The judges noted that Pete and Ann know things will change and they want to be prepared to change and that moral concern is shifting.
Jeff Bolstad, a Morrinsville farmer, was presented with a Lifetime Contribution Award by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust Chair, Natasha Tere, in recognition for his long service and contribution to the Dairy Industry Awards and wider agriculture sector.
“This is the first time this Award has been presented. It’s a prestigious honour that is awarded to an individual who has provided exceptional service to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.
“We have chosen Jeff as he has been a bonding strength behind our organisation. He is a quiet achiever who has guided and mentored many entrants over the years,” said Natasha.
“He has been a guiding light, a father figure and confidante to many while on their Awards journey.
“Jeff has no ego, just a pure love and passion for aspiring dairy farmers. He has dedicated so much time and energy to the Awards programme over the years, through his involvement on the Exec and behind the scenes guiding, encouraging and mentoring.”
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian and Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ.