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Judging Complete In Dairy Excellence Awards

19 May 2004

Judging Complete In Dairy Excellence Awards

The national winners of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards will be announced at a black-tie awards function on June 12 in New Plymouth.

Over the past two weeks the six regional winners of the Farm Business and Farm Manager awards have had their performance and practices meticulously examined in the search for dairy farming excellence.

Winners in the five individual Farm Business performance categories of Pioneer Business Growth; DTS Environmental Integrity; Dairy InSight Human Wealth; LIC Productivity and Ravensdown Quality Management will be named at the awards function before the overall Farm Business of the Year and RD1 Farm Manager of the Year is announced.

Performance award winners will each take home $3000 while the overall Farm Business Award winner will receive a new Holden vehicle and a cash prize of $10,000. The RD1 Farm Manager of the Year will receive a cash prize of $5,000.

The awards aim to promote dairy farming excellence by identifying those businesses and managers that can be held up as a benchmark for the dairy industry.

Katrina Knowles, Agriculture Industry Training Organisation training advisor and judge in the Farm Manager category says being a judge has been a fantastic experience.

"There is an amazing level of skill out there and the industry is in perfectly good hands going forward.

"While all the entrants had excellent skills with cow and grass management, those who really stood out were the entrants who placed a high priority on their staff and stakeholders. Everything else then fell into place behind the people."

For the Farm Business award, the judges have looked for entrants who are achieving high standards across all business categories. The 2003 Farm Business of the Year winners were Adrian and Pauline Ball of Tirau; this year, Adrian is part of the judging panel that will identify his successor.

"Being on the panel has meant another chance to see excellent dairy businesses in operation and pick up a few more ideas to try back home," says Adrian. "There is always room for improvement in this industry."

"Picking the brains of others and sharing ideas is what the competition is all about and it has been a really valuable experience for us.

"By getting involved last year, we were forced to look long and hard at every aspect of our business, particularly those corners that you tend to overlook. But doing this gave us some valuable insights and helped us to identify the areas we needed to improve."

The six finalists in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Farm Business Award are:
* Stuart and Kaaren Davey from Paeroa representing Hauraki/Piako
* Henry and Nicole Hendricks from Hamilton representing North West Waikato/King Country
* Alan and Viv Barr from Awakeri representing Bay of Plenty/South Waikato * Donald and Maree Anderson from Rohotu representing Taranaki/Lower North Island
* Alan and April Anderson, Aaron Hawkins and Tracy Finch from Oamaru representing Northern South Island
* Willy and Amanda Buchanan from Opio representing Southern South Island

With judging now complete, the six regional winners of the Farm Business Award are currently taking their prize trip to the United States, one of Fonterra's key market regions. The two-week trip is taking them to Washington DC, Harrisburg, Springfield, Kansas City and Las Vegas and will include visits to two Dairy Farmers of America farms, the Hersheys Chocolate factory and a farm visit hosted by DairiConcepts.

The six finalists in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence RD1 Farm Manager Award are:

* Craig Litten and Brooke Phelan from Paeroa representing Hauraki/Piako
* Dan and Jeanette Jolly from Te Awamutu representing North West Waikato/King Country
* Wayne and Suellen Panment from Reporoa representing Bay of Plenty/South Waikato
* Carl and Shey Kowalewski from Stratford representing Taranaki/Lower North Island
* Johan Geerts and Vanessa Summerville from Leeston representing Northern South Island
* Andrew Speight and Julie Racher from Invercargill representing Southern South Island

Judges were looking for a farm manager capable of running a farm with absentee owners and excellent skills in the areas of goal setting, herd management, financial understanding and quality management.
The June 12 awards evening will recognise and celebrate Fonterra's top dairy farmers. Tickets to this premier event are $90 per head including dinner, drinks, and exclusive entertainment from Dame Malvina Major, and can be ordered online at www.dairyexcellenceawards.co.nz.

ENDS

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