Recognition. Sharefarming power couple Kellie and Leigh Schuuring have won the ‘Share Dairy Farmer of the Year’ at the 2016 Tasmanian Dairy Awards.
The awards, jointly presented by DairyTas and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), were held at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre last Wednesday following the state’s annual dairy conference.
This is the fourth time the Schuurings have been recognised at the awards ceremony, previously it has been as runners up in sharefarming (2014) and in the ‘Business of the Year’ category (2012 and 2013).
Beginning their sharefarming journey in 2001, the Schuurings started with a lower-order sharefarm at Togari.
They slowly built up their asset and are now being recognised for their efforts as 50:50 sharefarmers, an agreement which sees them own 1000 cows and rear them at a property owned by Kim and Grant Archer at Mella.
The Schuurings have also expanded to own a run-off block at Old Stanley Road, Smithton.
“It’s good to have finally got over the line,” Leigh said.
“We’ve always benchmarked (in the program).
“For Kellie and myself, we try to be ambassadors for the dairy industry to encourage young guys into the industry, from school age.”
Through school programs like ‘Cows Create Careers,’ an initiative of Dairy Australia, they hope to promote the career choice as a positive one.
“Some of these kids could be potentially quite good dairy farmers but if we don’t spark an interest when they’re at school age, they could float off and do something else,” Leigh said.
“It’s an industry where you can start from nothing and grow it to however big you see it.
“That’s something Kellie and I have done.
“We have been recognised for hard work, but it’s just nice to know that we run a consistent business and are able to grow an asset.”
It has also meant their three children, Tobey, 13, Taya, 11, Mia, eight, can see the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
“It’s a job which has allowed both Kellie and I to work, and involve the kids in a safe way.
“They get involved with the farm, they enjoy it.”
The Schuurings will host a field day at 166 Malugas Road, Mella on Tuesday April 26. For more information visit the DairyTas website, www.dairytas.com.au.