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From Japan to Dairy Excellence: Chihiro Hanyuda's Inspirational Journey in New Zealand

New Zealand 23.01.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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In an extraordinary journey from Japan to New Zealand's thriving dairy industry, Chihiro Hanyuda, named Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year, stands as a testament to determination and rapid advancement.
At just 27 years old, Chihiro has achieved her first role as a farm manager in a mere three years, including a six-month hiatus to welcome her daughter into the world.

Growing up surrounded by rice fields in Nara, Japan, Chihiro's fascination with cows steered her towards a dream of becoming a dairy farmer. Recognizing the challenges of sustaining a livelihood through dairy farming in Japan, she set her sights on overseas opportunities. Choosing New Zealand over Australia for its affordability, Chihiro reflects proudly on her swift ascent in a foreign land.

Embarking on her educational journey at Massey University, Palmerston North, Chihiro pursued a Bachelor of Science with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Ecology. Her entry into the dairy sector began as a farm assistant in Taupo, managing 2000 cows. Discontent with the large-scale operation's cow management practices, she transitioned to a 600-cow farm in the Bay of Plenty's Kaimais.

Despite the challenges posed by pregnancy, Chihiro's resilience led her to progress from a farm assistant to a herd manager. Following a six-month break for the birth of her daughter, she secured her first farm manager role in Galatea, overseeing 379 cows on a 148-hectare farm.

While her partner, Te Maapi, supports her from Tokoroa with their daughter, Chihiro acknowledges the sacrifices that come with balancing motherhood and a career in farming. Undeterred, she emphasizes the importance of determination and expresses gratitude for having a supportive partner.

Chihiro envisions farm ownership as her ultimate goal, aspiring to own a 400-600 cow farm, ideally situated near a city to accommodate Te Maapi's career. Her short-term plans involve exploring contract milking or sharemilking in the next two to three years, backed by a goal to save $50,000 from their wages this year.

Having recently clinched the Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year award, Chihiro also received accolades in the DeLaval Livestock Management Award, Fonterra Dairy Management Award, and Whakatane District Council Environmental Sustainability Award categories. Reflecting her commitment to animal welfare, Chihiro stresses the importance of empathetic livestock management practices.

Beyond her immediate farming responsibilities, Chihiro aims to bridge the gap between farmers and government officials, leveraging her ecological studies to facilitate better understanding of farming practices' environmental impact. Frustrated by uninformed comments on social media, she encourages fellow farmers to educate themselves on environmental regulations and consider proactive ways to improve the industry's sustainability.

In a field often dominated by tradition, Chihiro Hanyuda stands as a trailblazer, proving that with determination and a passion for change, anyone can excel in the dynamic world of dairy farming.

Source: NZ Dairy Exporter