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Rewards Awaiting Superior Sharemilkers

10 December 2004

Rewards Awaiting Superior Sharemilkers

With a national prize pool of nearly $60,000, the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year is one of the richest competitions on the agricultural calendar.

But anyone who wants to have a chance of a share in the prizes which include a $16,000 Blue Wing Honda ATV 4 x 4 farm bike, needs to put in their entry before December 20.

"Following an AC Nielsen survey commissioned by Dairy InSight, one of our sponsors, the competition has a simplified entry process and shorter length of time that entries are open. The survey showed lack of time was the single most widely mentioned reason for not entering," says National Convenor Chris Keeping.

The survey, in which 350 sharemilkers aged 18 years and over took part, highlighted the four most positive benefits of entering the awards: knowledge, rewards, credibility and image.

"Sharemilkers perceived knowledge gains would add efficiencies to their farm through learning from other entrants, benchmarking against others, and identifying their strengths and weaknesses," Ms Keeping said.

"They also entered for the rewards, not so much for the take home prizes, but rather for the personal and business rewards provided by the challenge and mixing with other sharemilkers. The prizes are the icing on the cake."

The survey highlighted some of the reasons why some sharemilkers are reluctant to enter the competition.

"There was a high level of interest among young sharemilkers but they felt they may not be ready yet. The great thing about Sharemilker of the Year is that you don't have to win a prize - even though there are wonderful prizes on offer - to benefit from taking part," Ms Keeping says.

"Those taking part in the survey who had entered in the past said they gained enormous value from the networking opportunities the competition offered. The judges' feedback process was extremely helpful and first time entry for young sharemilkers was a useful planning tool with a special prize for first time entrants."

The survey found that there was a misconception that the competition is for the most profitable farm.

"If it were simply a question of the biggest, most profitable farm winning it would scarcely be an event which identified the true Sharemilker of the Year. The competition focuses on entrants' use of resources, not just the highest levels of production - otherwise how could the judges distinguish between a sharemilker in the Waikato with a herd of 800 and a sharemilker on the West Coast of the South Island with a herd of 200, " says Ms Keeping.

"It's how they tackle challenges and get around them that separates the sharemilkers from the cowboys."

The 2005 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Competition is run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and is sponsored by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement and Ravensdown.

Entry forms are also available from Federated Farmers PH 0800 327 646, by contacting Chris Keeping on (021) 425791 and sponsor representatives or can be downloaded from www.fedfarm.org.nz/smoty

ENDS

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