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Dairy Excellence Awards Another Successful Export

For immediate release October 4, 2004

DAIRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL EXPORT

Fonterra, the world's largest exporter of dairy products has added another ingredient to its list of exports - the Dairy Excellence Awards.

The fourth Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards competition was launched today at the Fonterra Centre in Auckland. On-farm launches will take place in the six competition regions over the coming month.

The competition's popularity has been growing steadily over the past three years and this year the idea has gone international.

Fonterra subsidiary Soprole has initiated and sponsored a nationwide competition, "Mejor Productor Lechero del ano", (Best Dairy Farmer of the Year), modelled on the New Zealand awards. One thousand Chilean farmers turned up to the regional launches in late August.

Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden says the key objectives of the Dairy Excellence Awards are to share knowledge between suppliers and promote best practice within the industry, objectives that are shared by Fonterra's international partners.

"Fonterra's aim is to lead in dairy. Fostering excellence and sharing knowledge amongst our supplier base is one way we will achieve this. These awards serve to encourage all our suppliers, and previous entrants regularly comment on the benefits of being involved - learning from others, getting feedback on their farming practices and identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.

"For Fonterra to maintain its competitive edge, we need to benchmark the best of the best, giving all our suppliers people to learn from and a target to aim for."

Westpac's Head of Agribusiness Karen Silk says: "Westpac has a long history and a strong reputation for understanding agri-business, for finding solutions, and for working in partnership with this sector to help unlock its true potential.

"Today's farmer is a savvy, smart and hard working business professional looking for a decent return on their investment, driven by innovation, cutting edge technologies and a dynamic and vibrant business community. This is the modern face of dairying in New Zealand and what the industry needs to keep it sustainable.

"We believe that nurturing and recognising dairy excellence benefits the industry, our economy, our communities and New Zealand as a whole and that is why we will continue to recognise dairy excellence far into the future."

Competition Chairman and Fonterra Director Jim van der Poel says the popularity of the awards and the changing make-up of New Zealand's dairy industry has led to some changes in the competition structure.

"This year we have elevated Farm Manager of the Year to join Farm Business of the Year as a supreme award.

"The past year's competition saw a big increase in the number of Farm Manager entrants, reflecting the growth of this area within our business."

The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards recognise, promote and celebrate excellence in nine categories of dairy farming and dairy farm management. The categories are:


Supreme awards:
Farm Business of the Year Award
Farm Manger of the Year Award
New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award

Performance awards: Farm Business
Business Growth Award
Improvement Productivity Award
Quality Management and Environmental Integrity Award
Human Wealth Award

Performance awards: Farm Manager
Productivity Management
Business Planning


The total prize pool for entrants is worth nearly $200,000. For the regional winners of the Farm Business category, this includes a study tour to one of Fonterra's overseas operating companies (last year it was in North America), while regional winners of the Farm Manager award have the opportunity to take a national study tour around selected Fonterra sites.

The awards are proudly sponsored by DTS, Livestock Improvement, Pioneer, RD1, Ravensdown, Telecom and supported by Dexcel.

Fonterra suppliers wishing to enter the awards should contact their local Field Representative or visit www.dairyexcellenceawards.co.nz for further information.

- Ends -


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