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Excellence Across Dairy Industry Recognised

22 September 2006

New Awards Programme Recognises Excellence Across Dairy Industry

The merging of three of New Zealand’s most prestigious dairy industry awards into one competition will result in a powerful event spotlighting excellence at all levels of the dairy, industry organisers say.

The long–running Federated Farmers’ Sharemilker of the Year, the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards and the Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year come together with the formation of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust (NZDIAT), announced by the Competition Management committee chairperson Alison Watters today.

The NZ Dairy Industry Awards Trust has six trustees, representing Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Dairy InSight and Dexcel.

“Bringing these awards together under one umbrella is something we’ve been talking about for several years,” says Mrs Watters. “It makes sense to celebrate success at all levels of the industry, recognising excellence as people progress in their careers.”

Entries for the inaugural Dairy Industry Awards will open in November in three initial categories: Sharemilker of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year. A national lifetime achievement award will also be presented each year to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the dairy industry.

The new competition will be phased in this year throughout the Sharemilker of the Year regions, although organisers says it is possible that not all regions will offer all categories in the first year, depending on entry numbers.

“One thing that all three former separate events have in common is that those people who take part benefit and learn from the experience and that success identifies them as the kind of people employers want to hire,” says Federated Farmers spokesperson Frank Brenmuhl.

Representatives from the former Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards have also agreed that the combined competition makes great sense.

“The dairy industry has often been viewed with envy by other industry sectors because of the willingness of its members to exchange knowledge and skills with their peers and with those progressing through the industry behind them,“ says Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden.

“The co-operative nature of this three tiered event sends a further message about the strength and cohesiveness of dairying in New Zealand, encouraging the right people into the sector, and supporting them through recognising their achievements as they progress.”

The format of the Dairy Industry Awards and their organisational structure will be based on the aspects that have worked successfully for the Federated Farmers’ Sharemilker of the Year and the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards.

“One of the reasons the competitions have worked so well is that they are run ‘from the bottom up’ with a committed, loyal and dedicated team of volunteer regional convenors working with regional committees”

“The majority of regional committee members are there because they know how much they have gained from being part of the competition as entrants and now want to give something back.

“I don’t know how many times I have been told it’s not the prizes – although these are substantial – that attracts entrants. It’s the knowledge they gain, the friends they make, and the contacts they meet that makes them want to continue being a part of the competition.” say Mrs Watters.

“It’s your classic win-win,” says Mrs Watters. “It’s certainly an exhilarating time for everyone involved. There’s a lot of work to be done. But we are excited about raising the profile of sharemilkers, farm managers and dairy farm employees while also focusing on progression through the dairy industry.”

Ends

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