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Annual challenge for South Island Farmers Good for Business

Annual challenge for South Island Farmers ‘Good for Business’

Farmers who have won the annual Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Award say winning the competition is good for business.

The prestigious annual award is open for entries for 2012 and previous winners say that entering brings more than prestige and prize money – it makes a difference for their farm’s bottom line too.

The aim of the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition is to reward farmers whose work showcases the best of what can be achieved in farming. It is more than being a ‘good farmer’, it means operating in a way that shows leadership, innovation, efficiency and sustainability.

“Entering can be a challenge,” says Lincoln University Foundation chair Neil Taylor. “Farmers have to be prepared to put a bit of time into the entry form, open their farm to judges, and overcome the traditional rural reluctance to put themselves out there. But what our entrants tell us is that the effort is more than rewarded by the positive outcomes.

"Since entering this competition we have experienced two years of unprecedented growth,” says Marlborough farmer Doug Avery. “The pace of development has doubled. This happened because entering challenged us to really look at how we did business. It identified opportunities for us to change and grow; how we could maximise our strengths and take action on our weaknesses. I'd encourage any farmer to give this award a go."

South Canterbury farmers Ray and Adrianne Bowen echo this sentiment.

“We had a business that was very young,” Adrianne says. “Winning has resulted in huge exposure for us which has been very beneficial to the growth of the business.”

The annual competition acknowledges excellence and innovation in farm management practices and their contribution to leadership in land-based production. It is open to South Island land-based farmers, managers, partners and businesses. All types of farming are eligible to enter.

Winners will have demonstrated they are in the top echelon of agricultural producers and that they have developed, or are developing, leading-edge approaches inside or beyond the farm gate that enhance farming activity. This activity must be measurable and the knowledge behind it able to be shared with others.

“Through raising the profile of such farmers we hope others will be able to adapt these ideas so they can grow their own business and ensure New Zealand farmers remain world leaders,” Neil Taylor says.

About the Lincoln University Foundation – set up by Lincoln University alumni during the University’s centenary year in 1978, the primary purpose of the Foundation is to advance education in the fields of agriculture and related interests in New Zealand. Travel awards are provided for educational purposes, research, or to attend a course of study in New Zealand or overseas. The South Island Farmer of the Year is the Foundation’s showcase event. www.lincolnuniversityfoundation.org.nz

About the South Island Farmer of the Year competition – applications are sought from throughout the South Island. Judges assess each written application and create a short-list of farms. Each farm is then visited and assessed to identify the finalists. In November the finalists present to the judges followed by a public presentation and from there a final winner is selected.

Judges are looking for measurable and transferable success and innovation. This might range from a new production process or a management technique/programme to a new selling/marketing approach or a combination of these.

ENDS

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