15 September 2014
The team overseeing the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has had a shake-up, with some fresh thinking and industry experience introduced.
Four of the executive management’s nine-member team are new for the 2015 awards programme and reflect the organisation’s continual drive for ideas, innovation and evolution so the awards retain its appeal.
National convenor Chris Keeping says the voluntary executive team, led by South Auckland sharemilker Gavin Roden, is integral in designing, developing and delivering the awards programme – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.
“The awards have been hugely successful in the past few years with record entry numbers achieved, sell-out regional and national awards dinners and strong attendances at winners’ field days.
“There’s always room for improvement and it’s important the team finds ways to keep entrants returning, as well as enjoying and gaining from their experience of participation,” Mrs Keeping says.
One new member brings a different perspective to the team. For a start Whakatane farm owner Brian Power has never entered any of the competitions, although he has had an association as a past regional convenor and judge.
The statesman on the team, Mr Power has taken part in other farmer competitions, has been active in championing dairy industry good activities and is supportive of farmers volunteering in their communities.
“I’m pretty passionate that you have to have voluntary input from farmers to do things in your region. I’m also keen to give some time to something in the industry that is actually the future of the industry.
“There are some challenges there but the awards enable people who put time and effort in to get something out for themselves, in terms of growing skill sets and having some fun.”
Mr Power, who recently stepped down from 11 years on the Fonterra Shareholders Council, sees opportunities to grow sponsorship and in gaining better sponsor participation and leverage at winner field days. He says there are challenges around managing the record number of dairy trainee entries and in finding ways to increase sharemilker/equity farmer participation.
The other new team members include 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year Enda Hawe of Canterbury, 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year Nadine Meade and 2011 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year Jo Greaves.
Those who have retired from the executive management team include former Chair and long-standing team member Matthew Richards of Southland, long-standing team member Brendon Stent of Canterbury and Lorette Astwood-Davidson of Taranaki.
The Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1 and Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO.
Entries in the 2015 awards open October 20.