Judging begins in NZ dairy awards 2015

The heat goes on the entrants in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, with the first round of judging underway this week.

National convenor Chris Keeping says judging starts for nearly 260 entrants entered in 11 regions contesting the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition today. Judging in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year regional competitions will begin in mid-February.

“It’s a busy time for the awards organisers and a critical time for the entrants, as the results of the regional competitions can have a significant impact on the career prospects of the entrants,” Mrs Keeping says.

“Essentially if they do well – or are seen to do well – their career in the dairy industry can be put on fast-forward! Farm owners and employers will seek them out and create opportunities for them.”

She says much of this is dependent on what the entrants present to the judges about their business and career. The judges spend two hours on the farms of entrants in both the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year competitions.

“We recommend entrants have a plan on what they are going to do during the two hours to highlight their skills and what they are doing on the farm and why. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have no distractions!

“Many entrants find the judging process one of the most rewarding aspects of entering the awards, as the preparation some do helps to identify business opportunities and solidify future goals. The judges also give them a free business appraisal.”

Mrs Keeping says judging of entrants in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest is split into two areas, with a practical section and interview component.

Most regions held entrant information events last month to advise entrants what to expect and how to prepare for the judges visits.

The Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, New Zealand Farm Source, Ravensdown, and Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO.

Central Plateau will announce its regional winners on March 2, while the Southland Otago region is the last to name its winners on March 28.

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