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Share Farmer of the Year

If you're a self-employed percentage sharemilker, contract milker, equity farmer or lessee, you could be eligible for the Share Farmer of the Year (SFOTY) award.

During the judging process, you'll be assessed on a range of factors including people and culture, farm hygiene, health & safety and biosecurity, financial and business acumen, pasture and feed, livestock management, farm environmental and sustainability. 

How to Enter

Check Eligibility

Find out which category you are eligible for. See eligibility details below.

Create account

Create an Account (or Login if you already have one) to complete an Entry Form during the entry period.

Get permission

We require your Farm Owner's and Employer's permission (if they are different people). Include their email for electronic permission or supply printed permission if they don't use email.

Receive access

Once we have permission, you'll receive an email with instructions on accessing our 'entrants only' portal. Here you'll find extra info including judging tips.

Provide financials

You'll be required to provide a copy of your previous year's financial accounts (or budget/cash flow if in your first year of business) and be invited to provide a DairyBase analysis as well. So if your previous year's financial accounts are not yet complete, contact your accountant as soon as possible.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Share Farmer of the Year Award, you'll need to be:

  • A Percentage Sharemilker OR Contract Milker OR Equity Farmer OR Lessee

  • A New Zealand Citizen, New Zealand Resident or hold a New Zealand Work Visa at the close of entries

  • Meet the additional eligibility criteria set out in the Conditions of Entry 

If you are unsure which category you can enter, please use our Contact page to get in touch outlining your circumstance. 


Role titles you might have to enter this category

  • Herd Owning Sharemilker

  • Variable Order Sharemilker

  • Contract Milker

  • Contract Manager

  • Equity Partner or Equity Manager

  • Lessee

SFOTY Judging Process

1. PRELIMINARY REGIONAL JUDGING

  January / February / March
   On-farm
  1 hr 45 mins
  All entrants

Check your regional judging dates to ensure you're free (you'll receive your specific judging date and time closer to your region's judging dates).

  • Intro/H&S/biosecurity induction (5 mins)

  • Entrant presentation (25-35 mins) - covering key farm details and context. You'll receive further info on what to cover.

  • Farm tour and interview (50-60 mins) - Judges will ask questions as they go, covering the judging criteria. You'll receive further info on places to be visited and things to be available to show them.

  • Compliance questions (5 min)

2. FINAL REGIONAL JUDGING

  January / February / March
   On-farm
  2 hours
  Top 5 entrants selected from prelims

Five entrants progress from prelims to the final round of judging. Finals judging is structured similarly to prelims. 

  • Intro/H&S/biosecurity induction (5 mins)

  • Entrant Presentation (25-35 mins) - will expand from prelims to include personal and financial planning and management.

  • Farm tour and interview (50-60 mins) - Judges will ask questions as they go, covering the judging criteria. You'll receive further info on places to be visited and things to be available to show them. This will be expanded from the prelim round.

  • Judge's questions (5-10 mins) - any questions they have resulting from the presentation and tour/interview.

  • Industry awareness and perception questions (5 mins) - Entrants will be asked two industry opinion questions.

  • Declaration/compliance questions (5 min)

3. NATIONAL JUDGING FOR REGIONAL WINNERS

  Late April / Early May
   On-farm
  2 hours
  All regional winners

Regional winners progress to the national final and in May of each year, they are judged by a national judging team to determine the national winner and placegetters. National judging follows the same structure as regional finals with a little more time, up to 2hrs in total.

  • Intro/H&S/biosecurity induction (5 mins)

  • Entrant Presentation (25-35 mins) - will expand from prelims to include personal and financial planning and management.

  • Farm tour and interview (50-60 mins) - Judges will ask questions as they go, covering the judging criteria. You'll receive further info on places to be visited and things to be available to show them. This will be expanded from the prelim round.

  • Judge's questions (5-10 mins) - any questions they have resulting from the presentation and tour/interview.

  • Industry awareness and perception questions (5 mins) - Entrants will be asked two industry opinion questions.

  • Declaration/compliance questions (5 min)

Before the national final dinner, the regional winners have an interview with the national judging panel. This completes their judging process.

NOTES ABOUT JUDGING

Check the Judging Criteria specific for each round of judging. Judges in your category are experienced in farming and want to know about you and your farming career.

All entrants receive a written Feedback Report from their judges, with finalists receiving a report from each of their judging rounds.

Merit Awards

All entrants are also eligible and automatically entered into our coveted Merit Awards, recognising excellence in specific areas.

  • DairyNZ - People & Culture Award

  • Ecolab - Total Farm Hygiene Award

  • Federated Farmers - Leadership Award

  • Honda - Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award

  • LIC - Animal Wellbeing, Recording and Productivity Award

  • Meridian - Environmental Sustainability Award

  • Ravensdown - Sustainable Pasture Award

  • Business Performance Award

  • Emerging Talent Award

Awards events

Regional Awards Dinner

  February/March
   Your region
  All entrants

Each region has an awards dinner where the merit awards are presented and the Share Farmer of the Year winners are announced. These dinners are a fantastic night out and an excellent way to mix with fellow entrants, peers, sponsors and judges.

Regional Winners Field Day 

  March/April
   Your region
  Regional Winners

The Dairy Industry Awards Winners Field Day is held on the property of the Share Farmer of the Year winner. The winners from the Dairy Trainee of the Year and Dairy Manager of the Year categories are required to attend the Field Day and give a short presentation.

National Sponsors Breakfast

  May 
   Nationals Week Location
  Regional Winners

The regional winners meet a few days before the National Final and enjoy getting to know each other while partaking in some educational and fun activities. Before the National Final Dinner, the regional winners have an interview with the National judging panel. This completes their judging process.

National Final Awards Dinner

  May 
   Nationals Week Location
  Regional Winners

All regional winners go on to compete for the title 'New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year' which is held in May each year and announced at the National Awards Dinner. National Merit Awards are also announced here.

Assessment Tools 

DairyNZ provides tools to help you assess your farm performance. As an awards entrant, you'll be invited to provide a DairyBase analysis as part of your entry, which the judges will use to assess your business against other entrants. 

Farm Gauge

Identify the opportunities in your business.

DairyBase

Get a better understanding of your farm system and its performance by comparing KPIs and identifying opportunities for improvement. 

Access tailored help

Each awards region has a Regional Manager as well as a Share Farmer of the Year Team Leader whose focus is the Share Farmer of the Year category. You can get in touch for tailored one-on-one help with your entry. You can also check out our FAQs below.

"We want to run our own farm in the future and while we have plans for that you have to be flexible enough and be ready for opportunities."

Jonathon & Stacey Hoets
2023 Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmer of the Year

  

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