The 2011 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards were launched today, with significant changes to the country’s longest running dairy farming competition.
The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year contest has been given a makeover with a new name and changes to its entry criteria to enable equity managers to participate in the competition.
The changes were announced by Management Committee Chair Matthew Richards to an audience of invited guests including industry representatives, sponsors, organisers and dairy farmers on a farm near Hamilton. Other speakers included 1997 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year and Fonterra Shareholders Council Deputy Chair Ian Brown, Dairy Awards Trust Chair Barbara Kuriger, 2009 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year Mark Nicholas and DairyNZ Chair John Luxton.
Mr Richards says the changes reflect what is happening on farms around the country, with a trend towards employing farm managers and the development of equity partnerships in ownership structures.
“We know dairy farmers still aspire to own their own farms, but the number of ways people can achieve that has evolved and there are now a variety of pathways people can take.
“The whole idea of the Dairy Industry Awards is to capture as many people as we can and to give them the opportunity to be involved in the awards.
“We want to encourage those with a passion to progress in the industry to participate in the awards irrespective of the pathway they have chosen.”
The competition will now be known as the New Zealand Sharemilker Equity Manager of the Year.
“The benefits of taking part in the competition remain the same: it’s an opportunity for those in the industry to better themselves and their business while building strong networks and friendships with rural professionals and farmers from around the country.”
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.
Changes are also in-store for the awards’ other competitions, the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. He says farm managers and contract milkers will be able to enter the farm manager competition, so long as they have no equity in the farm they manage or contract milk on.
An age limit has been placed on the dairy trainee competition, with entrants required to be aged between 18 and 30 on December 31.
“We have had people enter the trainee contest after switching careers when they are more mature in life. The aim of this contest is to encourage young people with up to five years experience in the industry to lift their skills and gain recognition for their efforts – and then progress in the industry.”
Entries in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards open on November 1. Further information can be found at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.