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Tight Battle for Top Dairy Trophies

For immediate release 4 May, 2005

Tight Battle for Top Dairy Trophies

Competition for the top prizes in this year's Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards is extremely close, according to judges tasked with picking the national champions from among the regional award winners named last month.

The final round of judging is now underway, with winners of the six Fonterra Westpac Farm Business of the Year and Farm Manager of the Year regional competitions vying for national honours.

As well as the overall title, entrants in the Fonterra Westpac Farm Business of the Year will compete for prizes awarded for productivity, business growth, human wealth, and quality management and environmental integrity.

Those competing for the national Fonterra Westpac Farm Manager of the Year title will also be in the running for prizes for production management and business planning.

Westpac AgriBusiness Manager and Farm Business of the Year judge Lachlan McKenzie says although the finalists in both categories often differed markedly in their approach, the quality of their operations was uniformly high.

"By winning their regional competition, they have demonstrated that they are top performers. However, with finalists ranging from relative newcomers to industry veterans, and with a variety of farming styles to match, it is going to be very interesting to see who comes out on top."

Judges, who include 2003 Fonterra Westpac Farm Business of the Year winner Adrian Ball, say they are looking for farmers with a good understanding of the latest developments in the industry both in New Zealand and overseas.

Judging ends Friday, following which contestants will be able to kick off their gumboots and enjoy the spoils of their success, with the Farm Business of the Year regional winners travelling to South America for a 12-day study tour of Fonterra's international operations and the Farm Manager of the Year regional winners taking a four-day trip around some of Fonterra's local operations.

The two supreme awards, along with the national Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at a black tie evening on June 10, in Christchurch.

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

* Peter and Karen West, Ngatea, representing Northland/Hauraki.

* Graeme and Margaret Shaw, Te Awamutu, representing Waikato/King Country.

* Corrie and Donna Smit, Whakatane, representing Bay of Plenty/South Waikato.

* Daryl and Karyn Johnson, Stratford, representing Taranaki/Lower North Island.

* Greg and Rachel Roadley, Ashburton, representing the Northern South Island.

* Vaughan and Megan Templeton, Riverton, representing the Southern South Island.

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

* Malcolm and Kylie Welsh, Dargaville, representing Northland/Hauraki.

* Matthew Young and Sheena Slater, Cambridge, representing Waikato/King Country.

* Bill and Jenny Malcolm, Tirau, representing Bay of Plenty/South Waikato.

* Craig and Rebecca Sturgeon, Manaia, representing Taranaki/Lower North Island.

* Alastair and Louise Holmes, Temuka, representing the Northern South Island.

* Andrew and Karen Lord, Tuatapere, representing the Southern South Island.

- Ends -

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