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Entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year


Nominations and entries are open for the 2016 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are expecting wide interest.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says, “Last year we had excellent entries which resulted in a tie, with Omarama Station and Clearwater Mussels sharing the honours. This substantially boosted public interest and we had excellent attendance at all of our events. We anticipate this level of interest will continue in 2016.”

The competition offers $40,000 of prizes. The top prize is a $20,000 travel grant to undertake further farm study or pursue farm business opportunities, plus four $5,000 awards for the best performers in specific areas such as resource management, consumer awareness, innovation and human resource management.

But it’s not just the prize money that gives value to entrants. Last year’s joint winner John Young of Clearwater Mussels says entering the competition has real benefits for the farmers themselves.

"The expectations from the Lincoln team to condense and tell our farming story gave us the unexpected benefit of analysing our farming strategies, our financial markers, our people, our markets, and using this to build a more robust and innovative business,” Young says. “The support from Lincoln Foundation, the media, industry, and the public during and after the competition, and the ability to educate a wider audience, has been immense.”

Todhunter says the Lincoln University Foundation and competition sponsors will be focusing this year on encouraging entries and/or nominations.

“One of the keys to getting good numbers and a high quality of entries is nominations,” Todhunter says. “In earlier years it was difficult to get farmers to put their own hand up, but since we have allowed nominations, entries have shot up as it seems to take the ‘tall poppy’ factor out of it and farmers are more willing to let their nomination go forward.”

Todhunter says he is hoping that agribusinesses, agricultural societies and foundations, and related organisations really get behind the competition this year and put forward nominations to help keep both the quality and variety of entries to the highest level. He added that it is not just big farming operations that the Foundation is looking for.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and farming excellence, which can be found equally in small family-owned farm businesses and within large commercial agricultural entities.”

Todhunter says previous entrants are also encouraged to re-enter.

“The experience of entering can itself be very valuable,” he says, “because of the farm business evaluation all entrants receive. They can use the feedback provided to work on their business and re-enter in subsequent years to see if the improvements made can get them through to the finals.”

Nominations and/or entries are open now and close on 1 August 2015 (see http://www.lincolnuniversityfoundation.org.nz/how-to-enter/apply-online/

for nomination/entry forms).

Judging will occur during September/October with the finals at Lincoln University in November. The competition is open to any form of primary production farm business including agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and aquaculture.

ENDS


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