From backpacker to dairy champion: A global love story + agricultural success

From backpacker to dairy champion: A global love story + agricultural success

Alongside his wife Ximena Puig, one-time backpacker turned NZ dairy farming sensation Alvaro Luzardo has been crowned Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa NZDIA Share Farmers of the Year, marking a significant milestone in their agrarian journey. 

Arriving in New Zealand back in 2013 with a mate, the initial plan was a three-month stint to explore the local agriculture scene. However, what began as a short-term exploration burgeoned into a life-changing commitment. 

"We both got job offers, you know, and we decided it was a good, you know, way to say, okay, we can save some extra money to travel for a bit longer." 

His friend continued to travel, but Luzardo found himself captivated by the dairy industry in New Zealand, remarking, "And here I am, I'm still backpacking." 

Ximena, whom he met in Uruguay, joined him in 2019 after a year and a half of a long-distance relationship. 

"She fell in love with New Zealand and then she moved, like definitely, to New Zealand in [the] summer of 2019 and we got married last June," Luzardo says.

The conversation also touches on the challenges he faced, particularly the language barrier. 

"When you don't even speak the language, I think you're a few steps behind." 

He worked hard to overcome this hurdle, ensuring his communication was "good enough for them to understand that I had some skills." 

As 50-50 sharemilkers in Eketāhuna, Alvaro and Ximena have their sights set on long-term goals, with farm ownership being the ultimate dream. 

Luzardo further expresses gratitude for the support they've received, stating, "From day one, everybody has been very supportive." 

His parting words encapsulate the spirit of their journey. "I mean, yeah, we, we got much more than what we, we expect." 

This sentiment underscores the unexpected but fulfilling path their lives have taken, from wandering hearts to dairy royalty in New Zealand's lush pastures.

Listen to the full chat between Alvaro Luzardo and Dominic George above.

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