FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist: Josh Cozens

Posted by on 30 May 2018 | Comments

Dairy farmer Josh Cozens can count on one hand the number of times he’s shorn a sheep.

“I’ve only shorn sheep twice in my life,” he laughed. “Both times have been at an FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final.”

The most recent was in March, when the 29-year-old took out the Waikato/Bay of Plenty contest.

It was his third attempt at the title.

“Entering the contest has helped open my eyes to the skills required in other sectors of the primary industries,” he said.

It’s been a hectic few months for the father of three.

Shortly before winning the title, Josh and his wife Shaz accepted a bigger contract milking job for the 2018-19 season at Pyes Pa near Tauranga.

They’ll milk 450 cows on 145 hectares.

“All calves born on the dairy platform will be reared by the farm’s owners on a 320-hectare runoff next door,” said Josh.

“So there will be no bobby calves.”

The qualified automotive service technician has progressed quickly through the dairy sector.

His first contract milking job was in June 2014, milking 190 cows.

Two years later the couple stepped up to a 350-cow farm in Edgecumbe.

“I’d previously been a herd manager on that farm before we returned to go contract milking on it,” he said.

“Reputation is a huge part of our farm business. We set high standards, which gives us opportunities.”

Josh also makes time to network.

“I joined NZ Young Farmers not long after I entered the dairy sector,” he said.

“I’ve met people from all over the country, everyone from farm owners to leaders within Fonterra.”

“Having a great network of contacts can be useful if you need advice or enter things like the NZ Dairy Industry Awards,” he said.

The couple hope to be 50:50 sharemilking, leasing a farm or in an equity partnership within five years.

They’re building equity in several ways.

“We had a rental property in Edgecumbe, which we recently sold,” said Josh.

“We’ve also owned cows and reared beef calves.”

“We currently have 25 rising one-year-old replacement heifers which we run on a leased block of land,” he said.

Josh pinpoints his success in the regional final to taking his time with the modules.

It’s a strategy he’ll be repeating at the grand final in July.

“This year I’ve really focused on slowing down and making sure I’m picking up more points in the modules for quality,” he said.

“It’s obviously paid off so far.”