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Challenged to distinguish between excellence

Judges challenged to distinguish between excellence

Judges in all award categories were extremely impressed at the level of entrants into this year's Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards.

The Fonterra Westpac Farm Business award judges - Westpac Agribusiness Manager Lachie McLeod, Dexcel Consulting Officer Anna Bayly and dairy farmer Stephen O'Neil - visited each of the farms for three hours, judging them on their business growth, quality management, human resources, productivity and environment.

"Finding a winner out of the finalists was a difficult undertaking as the calibre of all seven couples was extremely high," says Mr O'Neil.

"We all felt as judges that if the future of the dairy industry in New Zealand is in the hands of these sorts of people, then we have nothing to worry about going forward."

Ms Bayly agreed commenting that "as a judge is was a wonderful opportunity to see the best of the best in New Zealand dairying."

Fegan and Co Director John Fegan and Fonterra Director-elect John Wilson, a Te Awamutu dairy farmer, judged the Farm Manager of the Year component who also found it very challenging to distinguish between the entrants.

"It's always inspirational to see people of such quality coming into the industry," says Mr Wilson.

"Their motivation is fantastic and it was certainly heartening when you consider the calibre of these, in most cases relevantly new entrants to our industry, and the impact they will have going forward."

All entrants were judged against criteria set by the Dairy Excellence committee, setting strict guidelines for consistent and fair judging.

"While some couples stood out in particular categories, the overall winner marked very well over all areas," says Mr O'Neil.

Mr Wilson felt similarly with the Farm Manager winners, "One of the main focuses was to find a person/or people who could step out today and manage the entire business of a 400 cow property for an absentee owner and do an exceptional job. We found that the finalists fulfilled these criteria although bringing quite different strengths."

The seven finalists in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Farm Business of the year award are:

* Bruce and Julie Paton, Northland
* Adrian and Pauline Ball, Hauraki Piako
* Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma, North West Waikato
* George and Sharon Moss, Bay of Plenty South Waikato
* Michael and Heather Burmeister, Lower North Island
* Russell and Leanne Clearwater, Northern South Island
* Neil and Julie Hamilton, Lower South Island

The seven finalists in the Farm Manager award are:

* Grahame and Ann Roberts, Northland
* Robert Short and Alice Rae, Hauraki Piako
* Colm and Gaynor Tierney, North West Waikato
* Shannan Wadsworth, Bay of Plenty South Waikato
* Brent Pocock, Lower North Island
* Darin Bradley, Northern South Island
* Martin and Rebecca Gay, Southern South Island

The three finalists for the Environment Award are:

* Greg and Gerry Glover - Hamilton
* Doug, Marg, Dave and Helen Turner - Canterbury
* George and Glenda Howie - Hauraki

The competition's national final will a black tie event in the Bledisloe Hall at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, from 6.30pm Friday June 27. Entertainment will include sports commentator John MacBeth, the Te Wero Kapa Haka group and music band Uncle Monkey will follow the formal ceremony.

Tickets are available online at or phone 0800 27 37 59.

© Scoop Media

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