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Top Dairy Excellence Awards Judge Gives Tips

Top Dairy Excellence Awards Judge Gives Tips And Encouragement To Farm Managers

Increased confidence and an important addition to their CV are just two of the benefits to Farm Managers who enter the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards, says competition judge Katrina Knowles.

Katrina, who has thirty years experience in the Dairy Industry and has judged the Awards for the last two years, says that Farm Managers should not underestimate the advantages they can gain simply from entering.

“One of the big pluses for anyone who enters the Farm Manager category is gaining an enhanced belief in themselves and their abilities,” says Katrina. “They get a better understanding of where they are now and where they want to be in five or ten years time.

“Entering the awards is not an easy thing - it requires a certain amount of dedication. But the challenge is definitely worth it. The people I have seen go through the process come out knowing their own self worth. They gain the confidence to raise their profile in the Dairy Industry.”

These sentiments are echoed by Rebecca Sturgeon who, together with husband Craig, won the Farm Manager of the Year Award in 2005.

“We’ve entered the awards twice,” says Rebecca. “Before we entered the first time, we thought we were doing an okay job. But we saw the Awards as an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against other Farm Managers and see how we stacked up.

“It was important for us to take the time to assess what we were doing and where we wanted to go in the Industry and the Awards helped with that. It was great to be runners-up.

“The second time around we used what we had learnt previously to make improvements. Our persistence paid off when we won the Farm Manager of the Year category.”

Rebecca says that motivated people who want to move forward in the Dairy Industry should seriously consider entering the Awards.

“It’s a good idea to sit down as early as possible in your career to plan where you are heading,” she says. “The Awards help to clarify you goals, they make you think about what it is you really want.

“It’s also a really good addition to your CV. It shows prospective employers that you are motivated and you are willing to put in the effort to move forward.

“You can say whatever you want on your CV and give a list of referees, but it’s different when an independent person says ‘They know what they are doing’. That’s what this Award offers.”

The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards recognise, promote and celebrate excellence in eight categories of dairy farming and dairy farm management. The format of this year’s Awards has changed and the new categories are:

• New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award

• Farm Business Travel Scholarships (6)

• Farm Manager Overall Winner

• Farm Manager Performance Awards:

 Goal Setting and Communication

 Productivity Management and Financial Planning

 Human Wealth

 Pasture and Herd Management for Sustainability

 Quality Management and Environmental Awareness

The regional winners of the Farm Manager award will embark on a national study tour around selected Fonterra sites, offering some insights into business planning, personal development and mentoring and motivational opportunities. The six Farm Business travel scholarship winners will take part in an international study tour of South America – a key region of dairy industry growth and significant Fonterra activity.

“The changes to this year’s Awards mean that entrants now have more opportunity to receive a performance award, if not the overall award,” says Katrina. “They also have a chance for their area or expertise to be recognised.”

“What is really important is that entrants can demonstrate that they are passionate about their role and have a total understanding of what they do,” says Katrina. “But, at the same time, they should be themselves, relax and enjoy the experience.”

For information about the Awards and how to enter, Fonterra suppliers should contact their local Field Representative or visit


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