Award-winning young farmer giving back to Family Works Buddy Programme

Posted by on 24 April 2018 | Comments

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Jaime McCrostie milked her first dairy cow when she was 14-years-old after asking the neighbour to teach her.

“I grew up on a sheep farm in Southland, but I wanted to milk cows,” said the 32-year-old.

“My parents didn’t want me to be a dairy farmer and told me to go to university instead, so I did.”

Jaime graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 2007.

“Then I got a job milking cows,” she laughed.

The former Nightcaps Young Farmers member was named the Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year in March.

Jaime took out merit awards for employee engagement, livestock management, dairy management and leadership.

“My best piece of advice to people is to back yourself. The biggest gains are made when you take the biggest risks,” she said.

“But if you do drop yourself in the deep end, make sure you have the right support team around you.”

Jaime McCrostie.Jaime’s about to enter her third season managing a 370-hectare dairy farm owned by AB Lime in Winton milking 930 cows.

She manages a team of four full-time staff, a milk harvester and a calf rearer.

“Managing people is a large part of my job and I’m not naturally a people person,” Jaime laughed.

“Fortunately, my boss and the HR company that AB Lime uses have helped me develop my skills.”

“It’s important to know your weaknesses and to find employers who will push you upskill and grow as a person,” she said.

Jaime is always learning.

Before she took on her current role, she worked as an artificial insemination technician and as a hoof trimmer.

“I like the opportunity to continue learning. There are so many different skills you need, to be good at your job, and there’s always room for improvement,” she said.

But Jaime also makes time to give back.

She’s part of the Family Works Buddy Programme, which provides support, fun and new experiences to children in need of a positive influence in their lives.

“I’m a big buddy for a little buddy. My little buddy is 11-years-old, and we spend a couple of hours a week together just hanging out,” she said.

“I’ve done it since August last year and I find it really rewarding.”

“We just get together and go and do kid’s stuff, which I reckon is just as beneficial for me as it is for him,” she laughed.

Jaime won’t have far to travel for the national finals of the NZ Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill on May 12th.

The 32-year-old is looking forward to the experience.

“I’m anticipating it’s going to be a massive step up. I have no doubt my eyes will be opened to a whole new level and way of managing dairy farms,” she said.