Taranaki’s Lara Honeyfield may be pursuing a career outside of farming, but that doesn’t mean she intends to leave her passion behind.
Lara, 19, grew up in Stratford on the family dairy farm with parents Jason and Jean, sister Nicole and brother Ryan, farming all Holstein Friesian cows.
“I got into calves and showing through school pet days and loved it, and that love carried on into high school,” Lara says.
“As a teenager, my parents bought us some pedigree animals to allow us to continue showing.”
Lara and Nicole travelled to the Stratford A&P Show, the Egmont A&P Show, and when Lara got a little older, she was able to attend NZ Dairy Event.
Lara also attended the 2020 National All Dairy Breeds Youth Camp in Stratford and ended up winning the Paramount Cup as the best all-rounder at the youth camp.
“I really enjoyed the youth camp,” she says. “The social side of it was great – I met a whole bunch of people my age and it has been awesome to bump into them again since then.”
Lara says before the youth camp she didn’t have much clipping experience, so it was great to learn a few tips to make the process quicker and easier for her and the calf.
“Clipping is a huge skill to master,” she says. “Attending the camp was such a rewarding experience.”
Lara now lives in Palmerston North and attends UCOL. Last year, while studying a Bachelor of Sports Science at Massey University, she found her passion for anatomy and decided to pursue a career in that field.
This year, she is studying a level 4 certificate in preparation for medical imaging with the goal to study a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Medical Imaging.
When she is not at university, she spends time looking after Manawatu Holstein Friesian breeders Ron and Amy Baker’s son Ollie.
“Ron and Amy (Fusion Genetics) have had a huge influence on me and my farming knowledge,” Lara says. “I’ve learnt so much from them about breeding and genetics.”
In 2022, Lara attended NZDE with Ron and Amy and exhibited their heifer Larkspur Lauthority Whip, who won 2022 NZ Dairy Event All Breeds Junior Champion, 2022 NZ Dairy Event Junior Holstein Friesian Champion, All Breeds Junior Yearling Heifer, 2022 NZ Dairy Event Junior Youth Show Reserve Champion, Holstein Friesian Junior Yearling Heifer, and 2022 North Island Junior Holstein Friesian Champion.
More 2022 Dairy Event highlights for Lara include being a part of the winning Youth Challenge Team, Ollie’s Angels, and placing first in her age group class for handling.
Although Lara is away at university and not studying agriculture, she is still very much involved in the family farm.
“Mum will ring me up and ask me what bulls she should use or tell me which cows calved that day,” she says. “I’m still very much interested in what’s happening on our farm, and I owe Mum a lot for fostering our passion for showing and taking us out on the show circuit.”
Lara says she will go “wherever the wind blows her” after she has finished studying.
“Ideally I’d like to stay close enough to home to still be involved in the family farm, and to be able to stay on the show circuit,” she says. “Just because I’m pursuing a career outside of farming, it doesn’t mean I want to have less to do with farming and showing. I’d love to get back up to Stratford and to NZDE before I start back at university next year.”
Lara says she has always been drawn to Holstein Friesians, having grown up around them.
“I love how they are put together; they are an impressive breed,” she says.