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George Dodson: Tasman FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

Before daylight breaks over the Canterbury Plains, 22-year-old George Dodson is out at the milking sheds, milking the cows for a few hours before he comes in for breakfast. 

“It may be an early rise, but you get a ripper view of the Southern Alps and the Port Hills,” he says. 

Now a 2IC on a 430-cow dairy farm between Darfield and Dunsandel, George isn’t afraid to step up to the plate – at age 20, the Canterbury farmer was already managing a farm in Southland. 

“Managing from a young age was really good for me because I had to learn quickly. But now, coming back in a 2IC role under a great operator has given me a much better perspective on what is important and what I can improve on.” 

Taking a step back has also given George time to work on the other important things in his life, including a new initiative he has helped to create; The Canterbury Young Dairy Leaders Network.  
"It’s about getting good people together to share great ideas. And, it gives us a place to connect and support one another,” he says. 

Alongside this mahi, George has been working hard on his game for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. 

“I’m really looking forward to the fast-paced side of the competition. I work well under pressure. Thinking on the spot relates well back to farming, because you often have to solve problems quite quickly.  

“I’m trying to increase my general knowledge across the board, so I can turn up on the day and have a strong idea of everything from fertilisers to fencing, to soils and other industries.” 

Working on the farm since he was a kid, George hopes his experience will put him in a good position when it comes to the practical side of the competition.  

“I’ll be trying to dig deep, drawing on my experiences at work but also pulling from the learnings my old man taught me growing up. As a kid, I spent a lot of time on the farm and saw how hard my dad worked – he really has been my biggest inspiration heading into this competition.”  

Looking ahead to the future, George hopes to leave New Zealand’s farmland in a better place for the next generation.  

“I want to bust the myth that farmers don’t care about the environment because that’s simply not true.  We love our cows, and we want to look after our land and our property because that’s our livelihood.”  

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Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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