Luke Ackerman: From mechanic to award-winning Dairy Manager

Luke Ackerman: From mechanic to award-winning Dairy Manager

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards regional finals are underway for 2024. They kicked off on Thursday night in Manawatū with Luke Ackerman taking home the Dairy Manager of the Year award.

His remarkable journey from the auto shop to the agricultural fields has not only led him to become the Manawatū Dairy Manager of the Year but also propelled him to the Grand Final of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards. 

Ackerman's story is one of passion and innovation. He has brought his mechanical expertise to the forefront of dairy farming, demonstrating the value of his skillset in maintaining farm equipment and pushing the boundaries of agricultural efficiency. 

"I grew up on a farm with my parents and my wife was the farmer out of us... and then, yeah, I was doing some relief milking one day... and I said to the farm owner I was like, oh, what's the go with getting a job, how do we work around that?" 

This initial curiosity and his mechanical skills led him down a path that has seen him excel in the dairy industry. Ackerman speaks about the strong partnership he shares with his wife, Sarah, who also comes from a farming background. Their combined efforts and competitive nature have been instrumental in their rise within the industry. 

"Together, me and Sarah, with both of our backgrounds, we can sort of crack on and do anything." 

Their story exemplifies the power of teamwork and mutual support in achieving success. Ackerman also delves into his enthusiasm for the technological advances in dairy farming, highlighting his desire to be at the forefront of innovation. 

He recognises the increasing challenges farmers face with regulations and compliance, emphasising the need for recognition of farmers' efforts in environmental sustainability.

He expresses a desire for farmers to receive tangible benefits for their contributions, such as carbon credits.

"Farmers need to go and be recognised for what they're doing... why can't we, as farmers, go and get some sort of rebate, or you know, or something along those lines of, yeah, helping the farmers out." 

The conversation not only celebrates Ackerman's achievements but also his future aspirations, which include farm ownership and continual growth within the dairy industry. 

As he gears up for the Grand Final, Ackerman remains optimistic about the future, hoping to secure further recognition and continue his upward trajectory in the dairy world.

His story is a testament to the possibilities that arise from embracing change and the promise of a bright future for those willing to innovate and adapt in the face of adversity.

Listen to the full chat between Luke Ackerman and Dominic George above.

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