5 February 2016
Entrants in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are being put through their paces, as judges deliberate who the first regional winners will be.
Judging is currently underway in the 11 regional competitions of the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of Year competitions.
More than 450 people entered the awards, with the first of the regional winners to be announced in Taranaki on March 4.
Awards’ General Manager Chris Keeping says many entrants used some of their summer holidays to plan and prepare for judging.
“We’ve also seen a number of entrants share their experiences of working on their entry presentation on Twitter. It’s interesting to see how a network of awards’ entrants – including past entrants and winners – has formed on Twitter to share, encourage and support each other. That’s a really positive spin-off from the dairy awards.”
Mrs Keeping says the judging process – for entrants in the Share Farmer and Dairy Manager contest – involves teams of three judges making on farm visits.
“These visits can be really useful in helping the entrants to identify opportunities and gain an insight to where improvements can be made.
“Some people liken it to a free business appraisal, but it does require entrants to think about what their future farming plans are and if they are on course to achieving them.”
She says the judges spend two hours on the farm of the share farmer entrants and one-and-a-half hours on the farm of the dairy manager entrants.
Judging the dairy trainee entrants is different, as they participate in a practical skills test and interview. Most regions held entrant events to provide information on what to expect from the judges.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO.
Each of the regional competition winners will progress to a national final, to be held in Wellington on May 14 this year.
Tickets for the regional awards dinners can be ordered on this website.