Recent Lincoln University Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture – majoring in Farm Management) graduate Nathan Christian has won the prestigious 2012 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest, defeating eleven other young dairy trainees in the final.
Finishing his degree at the end of 2011, Nathan started immediately as a farm assistant on a 2,500 dairy farm in Ashburton, and entered the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest. As well as meeting his commitments on the farm, Nathan had to compete in a series of practical skills testing and interviews before heading into the finals. Out of 220 entrants, 12 were chosen to compete in the finals.
The winner of the contest was announced at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, held in Auckland in May. In the lead up to the announcement, all 12 finalists were in the Waikato, visiting farms, participating in team building exercises, taking part in judging components and learning how to set and achieve goals.
“I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest. I have met many like-minded driven people and also had the chance to mix and mingle with many of the industry leaders, which was fantastic” says Nathan.
“Winning this contest is a good achievement when straight out of university. The degree at Lincoln University gave me excellent preparation for this contest with the practical work and farm visits required to be completed throughout the degree.
“However the most valuable aspect of my time at Lincoln University was the people I met and the lecturers I got to know. They were always happy to discuss anything, give advice and help create a better understanding of what is fact and fiction.”
On top of all that Nathan also competed in the gruelling Coast to Coast for the first time this year – somehow managing to find training time to run, cycle and kayak.
Nathan is about to head to Europe for his ‘OE’ but will be back in 2013 in time for the dairy season. “Having this contest win on my CV will hopefully open doors and create opportunities which I might not have otherwise got. On my return from overseas I would like to work on a large scale farm in the Canterbury region, heading towards my ultimate goal of some form of farm ownership in the future.”