A 32-year-old Martinborough stock manager is Wairarapa’s Emerging Red Meat Leader for 2020.
Toby Rowland was ‘surprised but stoked’ to win the interview-based competition in February, and $5000.
He saw the competition advertised and decided to step outside his comfort zone.
“I want to try and get my name out there and promote myself, open up some opportunities for the future,” he said.
The judges were impressed with Rowland’s story and aspirations, praising him for his ‘clear vision and an awareness of his place in the industry that belies his age.’
“It wasn’t until I started rattling off our story that I realised that we have done quite a lot in a short amount of time,” he said.
The judges look for someone who ‘has meaningful impact on farm, financials and stock performance [and] has goals and aspirations to be a leader for the future.’
Rowland grew up rural and spent most of his school holidays working for the Henderson family at Dannevirke. He went on to shepherd for them, learning the fundamentals of farming, stockmanship and hard work.
Married to Kimmy with three children, Rowland works for Charlie Cresswell on a 1050ha sheep and beef farm at Huangarua. He started as a shepherd and has been there almost 12 years.
Rowland said they’ve had some good opportunities over their time at Huangarua. The couple recently bought a 120ha farm which is leased back to the operation.
“It’s a win-win, it’s going pretty well.”
One of Toby’s big passions as stock manager is helping others learn.
“I get quite buzz out of seeing shepherds progress.”
He said Huangarua is a good training ground for shepherds to develop a broad range of skills and then leave ready for the next level.
“I enjoy working with them on basic stockmanship, which I think is getting a little bit lost in modern-day farming.”
He believed stockmanship was one of the most important elements of farming.