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Win-Win For Sharemilkers And Sponsors

27 October 2004

Win-Win For Sharemilkers And Sponsors

There is a growing number of competitions in the rural sector. To survive, they all have at least one thing in common: the need for commercial support.

Anyone involved in raising such support knows there's a great deal of competition for the sponsorship dollar. To attract it, an event must be able to demonstrate benefits for the sponsor. Sponsorship is not a gift. It is an investment which has to be justified on each company's bottom line.

So why do companies invest in competition sponsorship?

At a recent conference for the Sharemilker of the Year convenors and supporters, sponsors took the opportunity to say why they invest their company's money in this event.

Bank of New Zealand has sponsored Sharemilker of the Year on a national and regional level for 16 years. Agribusiness Manager Charles Wood says it's for sound business reasons.

"Sixty percent of our lending book is in the dairy industry. Sharemilkers are the future leaders of that industry. We want to be alongside them; grow with them. We have a big part to play in helping with their financial management throughout their careers."

Tim Wood from Dexcel says a key part of Dexcel's strategy is about demonstrating excellence and best practice, a sentiment shared by Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden.

"Sharemilker of the Year identifies people who are showing what is achievable and how it can be done," Mr Wood says. "Our consulting officers are involved in the judging and the field days. We have a longstanding relationship with Sharemilker of the Year and it works for us."

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Henry van der Heyden says, "Fonterra's objective is to lead in dairy and our sharemilkers are the future of New Zealand's dairy industry. When we identify these top sharemilkers we are talent spotting the suppliers who will help us maintain our strong international position.

Like Dexcel, Livestock Improvement Corporation seeks to encourage excellence in the industry.

"We see Sharemilker of the Year as being about dairy's future, encouraging sharemilkers in their careers, rewarding those who achieve at the highest level. The leading sharemilkers demonstrate innovation; finding unique solutions to the varied problems they face around the country," says Livestock Improvement Marketing Manager Richard Graham.

"It's a natural fit for us. Sharemilkers make up a large part of our business. It's good to be able to give something back."

For ACC and Blue Wing Honda, Sharemilker of the Year provides an important way to promote farm safety issues.

ACC's General Manager of Injury Prevention, Darrin Goulding, says the Sharemilker of the Year Competition is an ideal vehicle for promoting injury prevention on farms to an influential group.

"These are the people who will lead industry in the future and their commitment to reducing risk of injury as well as personal and family trauma will be important when they go back to their home communities," Mr Goulding said.

Blue Wing Honda's Paul Cunninghame says ATV safety is of huge concern to his company.

"ATV's are the primary means of transport for many farmers, so the ability to showcase best practice and safe riding techniques at the competitions is incredibly important to Honda. We need leaders to show the right way to stay safe on the farm."

Ravensdown Fertiliser has a long association with the competition and Events and Sponsorship Manager Doug Henderson is frank in acknowledging it's a commercially sound relationship.

"Sharemilkers are not directly involved in the purchase of fertiliser. But those successful in Sharemilker of the Year are the top echelon of the industry - the cream. Those who do well go on to be leaders. They are people with ability and attitude; people we want to build a relationship with," Mr Henderson says.

For Dairy InSight, Sharemilker of the Year is an ideal vehicle to help communicate investment information with one third of its membership: sharemilkers. Industry Liaison Manager Irene Nolan says it's a great way to ensure sharemilkers understand the investment in industry good activities.

Ecolab completes the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year family of sponsors all of whom share a belief and commitment in the competition and recognise that it is good for the sharemilking industry and for the sponsor.

Entries are now open for the 2005 competition and close on December 20, 2004.

The 2005 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Competition is run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and is sponsored by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement and Ravensdown.

Entry forms can be obtained by freephoning Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646, by contacting the regional convenors and sponsor representatives or downloaded from www.fedfarm.org.nz/smoty


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