Tania takes out the Dairy Women’s Network top award for regional leaders

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Mid Canterbury farmer and personal development coach Tania Burrows has won the inaugural Dairy Women’s Network Regional Leader of the Year award.

The newly-established award was set up to recognise the work done for the industry by the 70 volunteer regional leaders nationwide.

Tania, up against three other national finalists, farms with husband Johno, milking 1000 cows on a 255 hectare property at Valetta.

They also run a 170 hectare run-off block opposite the farm and have up to 1000 heifer replacements. They winter their own stock.

Just over two years ago Tania trained as an accredited coach with the International Coach Federation. It helped her bridge the gap from a teaching career to farming.

“Coaching is a series of powerful conversations that help you discover what is truly important to you.

“It helps us get to know ourselves on a deep level, use what we discover to break down barriers to our success, find our strengths and move ourselves forward, creating sustainable change and the lifestyles and the businesses we really want to have.”

The couple have three daughters; Kerstin, 14, Catriona, 11, and Lavinia, 7, who love the animals, the wide open spaces and freedom to explore.

“Farming really is a great way to raise a family,” Tania said.

She grew up farming in the Karangahake Gorge, near Paeroa. Her parents farmed dairy goats for a number of years and owned agricultural contracting businesses.

Tania and Johno began farming together in North Otago in 2010, when the milk payout was $3.90.

She said the combined challenges of the low payout with a large mortgage and the business structure of the farm helped them focus on their farming and business management values.

While they have been following a dairy farming path with a goal to own their own farm, Tania said one challenge has been living away from family.

“We really miss the support of having family close by. Family is a really big value for us so we make frequent visits to the North Island.” However farming at Valetta does have its perks not to mention the most amazing views of Mt Somers and Mt Hutt.

She got involved with the Dairy Women’s Network to meet women with a similar outlook and has been a regional leader for the past four years.

“DWN acknowledges the vital role women play in our industry and our rural communities. They are often the unsung heroes that keep all the wheels turning behind the scenes.”