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Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year

11 August 2014

Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year competition

A wide variety of entries has been received for this year’s Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, with meat, wool and dairy dominating the range of farm types competing.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland are particularly well represented among the entries, which include high and low country operations ranging from a large-scale pig operation to beef cattle specialists, dairy farms, sheep (both meat and wool breeds) and deer farms. Two of the entries include a cropping component their business.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Ben Todhunter says that interest in the competition has been steadily growing as people realise its role as a promoter of excellence in farming for the benefit of the whole agricultural sector, as well as direct benefits to the entrants themselves in terms of the independent evaluation of their business provided as part of the judging process, and the publicity than can ensure from making the finals or winning. He expects that this, too, is making the competition attractive for progressive farmers even at the beginning of new business ventures.

“This is a show-case of the very best in farming practices in the South Island,” Todhunter says. “It says something of the standard of farming, and the competition, that we are now getting such a high level of interest from farmers and/or their nominees who feel they are at the top of their field in terms of enterprise, leadership, quality, innovation and entrepreneurialism.”

The Lincoln University Foundation hosts the competition as a way of recognising and rewarding excellence in farming in the South Island. The Foundation uses the competition to improve the performance of farming generally by promoting the knowledge and lessons that can be learned from the stories of the finalists and winners.

The overall winner receives a $20,000 travel/study grant to further their business. Finalists are also up for four $5,000 special category prizes:

1. The BNZ award for Human Resource Management
Recognising commitment both on-farm to building a happy and productive team, and off-farm, through the strength and depth of relationships with suppliers, customers and other people who interact with the farm business.

2. The Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award
Given to the finalist who shows the best focus on customer needs and service by showing how they plan their farming operations around what will eventually end up on the consumer’s plate.

3. The Lincoln University prize for Technology and Innovation
Best use of innovation, technology and/or new systems resulting in increased productivity.

4. The Farmlands Cooperative Prize for Resource Use Efficiency
Recognising excellence in the efficient and effective utilisation of the natural resources of the farm, and the physical resource inputs needed to generate a high level of production on a sustainable basis, resulting in an excellent long-run return on capital.

ENDS

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