Awards aim to change perception

The 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards aim to change some urban perceptions of the country’s dairy farmers and the dairy industry.

Awards executive committee chair Matthew Richards says the 2012 awards will culminate with a series of activities in Auckland that leads into the national awards dinner, where the winners of 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 will be announced.

“We want Auckland and the rest of the country to witness the bright, talented and well presented individuals that are working hard on this country’s dairy farms to drive the dairy industry forward as the global leader that it is .

“Many of our past winners have gone on to leadership roles within the industry and we expect many of our current winners will be the industry’s future leaders,” Mr Richards, a Southland dairy farmer, says.

The 2011 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Jason and Lisa Suisted said they initially entered the awards to“stand out from the pack” when applying for sharemilking positions. They have gained considerably more.

“What we did not know at the time was how much we were going to learn both about ourselves and our business. We’ve been able to fine tune some of our farm systems and the awards had also allowed us to work side by side, highlighting the strengths we both bring to the business.”

Mr Suisted says the awards challenged them and forced them to take a brutal and critical look at their business.

“The benefits from this have paid off immensely.”

Like the Young Farmer of the Year and other industry competitions, the Dairy Industry Awards provide wonderful opportunities for participants to look at and improve  their own businesses, learn from other entrants and showcase farming.

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