From being an IT student in New Zealand in 2014 to becoming the first Indian to win Dairy Manager of the Year in May 2022, Kiwi Indian Jaspal Singh’s story is quite an inspiration.

The 31-year, old who originally hails from Sathiala (a village in Amritsar district of Punjab in India), won the honour at the Dairy Industry Awards national final at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday night.

Singh, who currently works as a farm manager on Mark and Carmen Hurst's 220 hectares 800 cow property in Waimate, moved to NZ from India in 2014 to study information technology. 

But destiny had some other plans for him. Soon after completing his degree, he began working as a dairy farm assistant in Mossburn, and that's how his association with the dairy farming industry began.

Talking about his accomplishment, an emotional Singh told Indian Weekender, “Winning this coveted title is one of the best moments of my professional journey. I have done a lot of hard work and to see it being honoured and recognised that too in a foreign land is incredible. I am so happy to be the first Indian to get this award and am happy to make my India proud.”

Talking about the mantra for his success, Singh said, “As a dairy manager, I always  strive for perfection on the farm, be it regarding the livestock management by ensuring they get the best cows to making sure that milk that left the farm was the best” Apart from that, I regularly update myself with regulations regarding the industry as the dairy industry in NZ is changing quite rapidly.”

Singh points out that the dairy industry is still facing significant staff shortages, and migrants are needed to fill the gaps, “All the dairy farmers are trying their best to attract Kiwi workers to work on farms. The industry needs migrants to work as they seem to be more focused and hard-working,” says Singh, who lives in NZ with his wife Ruby and three-year-old son Ryan Singh.

IT and dairy farming are two different careers, so how easy was the transition? Singh, who got his residency just two months back, said, “I feel fortunate to have made that shift as dairy farming has given me a very happy, satisfying and rewarding career. I would not like to change it for anything now.”

Lastly, when asked about his future goals, he revealed, “I want to be a farm owner, and hopefully, my dream will be a reality soon. I see many opportunities in dairy farming in NZ and want to make the best use of them.”