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Countdown For Sharemilkers

3 May 2005

Countdown For Sharemilkers

In less than a week, New Zealand will know the identity of the 2005 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year.

Over the past two weeks a team of three judges has visited or will visit each of the 10 regional finalists on their farms. However, the final decision on who will be crowned this country's elite sharemilker will not be made until all finalists go through a rigorous interview session which will take place in Hamilton on May 7.

"The on farm judging is, of course, extremely important - analysing each entrant's strengths in areas such as pasture production, animal welfare, business and farm safety," says this year's chief judge Julie Paton from Northland. "But the winner of this competition is expected to be an ambassador for the industry. It's therefore important that the Sharemilker of the Year is a good communicator and can represent all sharemilkers."

There's a waiting list for tickets to the gala awards dinner on May 7 that will be attended by more than 400 of the dairy industry's key figures - such as the Deputy Chairman of Fonterra Earl Rattray, the President of Federated Farmers, Tom Lambie, and the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor.

There will be representatives from all of the event's sponsors: ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dairy InSight, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement and Ravensdown.

But all eyes will be on the finalists and on MC Bull Allen as he opens the envelope to reveal the new title holder.

"It's a truly magical moment," says Julie Paton, who, with husband Bruce won the national title in 1996.

The 10 finalists are:

Canterbury: Rakaia sharemilkers Leo (40) and Kathryn (38) van den Beuken.

Waikato: Te Awamutu sharemilker Michael Visser (39).

Bay of Plenty Pukehina sharemilkers Kelly (36) and Karen (34) Shaw.

Central Plateau Ngakuru sharemilkers Warren (36) and Louise (34) Berry. . Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Pahiatua sharemilkers David and Janine Swansson.

Manawatu/Rangitikei Levin sharemilkers John (36) and Wendy (35) Allen.

Southland Dipton sharemilkers Chris (37) and Charleen (36) Withy. Taranaki Manaia sharemilkers Dean (41) and Alison (35) Smith.

Top of the South/West Coast Westport sharemilkers John (33) and Jo-Anne (33) Milne. Auckland/Hauraki Thames sharemilkers Peter (36) and Sandi (34) Thompson.


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