Otago/Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year Shannon Butler

Otago/Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year Shannon Butler

All 11 of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards regional finals have now taken place with Shannon Butler taking out the Dairy Trainee of the Year at the Otago/Southland Awards.

Butler's narrative is not just a personal success story but a beacon of inspiration for embracing change and pursuing growth in unfamiliar territories. She recounts her initial inspiration, reflecting on the moment she attended the awards dinner the previous year and felt motivated by Anne Christen's win. 

"So I saw Anne Christen, who won the previous year, and I thought to myself I was like, oh, it would be cool to be as good as her, and then next year, there I was." 

This spurred her to set her own goals, leading to her surprising yet well-deserved victory. She admits the win was unexpected.

"Yes, it was. I was quite shocked, I was not prepared at all." 

The conversation then shifts to Butler's decision to enter the dairy industry, a stark contrast to her past role in aged care. She shares her experience of being thrown into a completely different environment, where the steep learning curve was challenging but ultimately rewarding. 

"It was very challenging, but I did enjoy it and still enjoy it, obviously."

Working on a 215-hectare farm with 620 cows, Butler praises the supportive farming community and the season's success in Southland, contrasting it with the dry conditions in Otago. 

"We've had an amazing season," she remarks, noting the area's good fortune in comparison to its neighbours. 

When discussing her brief yet impressive three-year tenure in dairy farming, Butler exudes ambition and a forward-looking mindset, recognising the Dairy Industry Awards as a platform that has opened numerous doors for her. She is passionate about the dairy industry and sees a bright future within it. 

"The Dairy Industry Awards is just awesome. It's really been uplifting to be around other people that are so passionate about the industry as well." 

Finally, Butler shares the joys and challenges of her new lifestyle, appreciating the outdoor work and interaction with animals despite missing the human connection from her previous role. 

Butler looks forward to the national final in Queenstown, demonstrating a positive attitude and eagerness for future opportunities in dairy farming. 

The conversation not only celebrates her achievement but also sheds light on the dynamic and fulfilling world of dairy farming in New Zealand.

Listen to the full chat between Shannon Butler and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.