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Dairy Awards Drives Progress In Industry

Dairy Awards Drives Progress In Industry
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is succeeding in its goal of recognising excellence among farmers as they progress in the dairy industry.
Three of the 11 finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition are past entrants and regional winners in the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year contest.
National convenor Chris Keeping says it is an exciting development in the awards programme, which has run in its current format since 2006 when the sharemilker/equity farmer, farm manager and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions were brought together.
“We always envisaged the awards would be used as a mechanism for people to advance their dairy farming career by participating in each stage of the awards programme – from trainee to farm manager and then sharemilker/equity farmer,” Mrs Keeping says. “We thought entering the awards would help them gain in recognition and reputation to take the next step in their dairying career and make them sought after by employers and business partners.”
West Coast/Top of the South finalists Peter and Helen McLaren won the region’s farm manager title in 2008. In 2010 Bay of Plenty finalists Russell and Nadine Meade won the region’s farm manager title and competed against Southland’s Don Moore for national honours. “While none of them were successful at the national level, the experience will be valuable as they prepare for this year’s finals,” she says.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.
The 11 finalists in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest also include eight couples, two brothers farming in partnership and two males. It is the second time four of the finalists have competed in the awards, the third time for two finalists and it is the seventh time entering for one. Four finalists are first time entrants.  
“They’re also a pretty young group – with just one finalist aged over 40 years old and six aged 30 or less.”
Mrs Keeping says five are traditional 50% sharemilkers, three hold lower order sharemilking positions, and three are equity managers or equity partners. The herd sizes range from 220 cows to 1350 cows.
“Add to the mix a range of tertiary and trade qualifications and industry experience, and it’s going to be a really interesting challenge for the judges to pick the winner,” she says.
The 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Wellington on May 24.
Visit for more information on the finalists.


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