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Take Opportunity To Learn More About Dairying

Take The Opportunity To Learn More About Your Dairy Business.

Running a dairy business is like running any modern, progressive business and the impact of hard work plus the constantly changing environment should not be underestimated.

There are many industry opinions and messages that conflict and cause confusion for the modern dairy farmer; buoyant commodity prices, the impact of the high $NZ, the low US$, rising interest rates, hedging policies, high gearing, the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency, investment and growth opportunities and high land values, not to mention the weather.

But the underlying message is that dairy farmers need a structured business plan, good networks and strong links to the business community to identify the changing needs of their business, balanced against the changing external environment.

This is how good dairy farmers become great ones. Through planning, benchmarking and applying industry best practice, business owners are enabled to improve performance and better understand their own business.
Every business is unique and many farmers run every facet of the business at once. Farm management itself demands expertise and flexibility across a range of disciplines to allow it to perform to its true potential. Not many people can be a master of every part of their business that is why it is important to develop partnerships that add skills, resources and expertise to help take a business where it wants to go, in measured steps.

October saw the launch of this year’s Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards. The awards programme offers all entrants the opportunity to have their business reviewed and benchmarked against their peers regionally and nationally not to mention the fantastic prize pool that is available. “The benefits to our business have been enormous,” says Donald Anderson supreme Farm Business winner for 2004. “Benchmarking and reviewing our business coupled with personal development has provided a clearer picture of where we are and what needs to be done to achieve our goals.”

The awards offer a unique proposition and valuable opportunity that not only recognises excellence but also identifies how it is achieved and then shares that information across the industry. This is a rare trait; businesses working together to further the industry as a whole rather than competing in isolation. This is a powerful way to generate and share best practice, which ultimately keeps the whole industry sustainable.

This year, in response to increased interest in the Farm Business category, all regional Farm Manager winners will benefit from a national study tour. The tour includes networking, workshops and visits to strategic business sites to build on dairy business skills.

The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards recognise the type of business that we need to sustain the dairy industry across New Zealand. All entrants across both Farm Business and Farm Manager categories have the opportunity to add something really valuable back into their business, to learn from others, to engage with new and best practice and to push the boundaries of excellence to ensure that the dairy industry stays the cream of the crop.

It is a fact that the Tall Poppy Syndrome does seem to prevent some dairy farmers and managers from seizing this opportunity. As a result nominations from third parties are being encouraged this year.

The nomination period for the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards is limited and closes on 20 December.

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