Strong field for dairy awards

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By JEREMY SMITH

The fi­nal num­bers are in and the South Waikato will be well rep­re­sented at this year’s Dairy In­dus­try Awards com­pe­ti­tion.

In to­tal there are 15 South Waikato en­tries reg­is­tered across the com­pe­ti­tion’s three cat­e­gories – Sharemilker/Eq­uity Farmer of the Year, Farm Man­ager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year.

That num­ber is made up of three sharemilker en­tries, two farm man­ager en­tries and 10 en­tries by dairy trainees.

Of the district’s 15 en­tries there were four each from Pu­taruru and Toko­roa and seven from Ti­rau.

Across the three cat­e­gories the South Waikato gath­ered just four nom­i­nees last year.

Waikato wide, when en­tries closed on De­cem­ber 24, farm­ers from 60 Waikato farms had put their hands up to give the com­pe­ti­tion a crack.

Pu­taruru-based Waikato re­gion award con­ven­ers Craig and Brooke Lit­tin said in the Waikato 20 farm man­agers, 14 eq­uity sharemilk­ers and 36 dairy trainees had en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion.

That’s the high­est num­ber of farm man­agers and dairy trainees of any other re­gion na­tion­wide.

‘‘We’re very pleased with that num­ber, not only be­cause of the over­all amount but also be­cause of the cal­ibe of the en­tries we’ve re­ceived,’’ Mr Lit­tin said.

‘‘I think par­tic­u­larly among the dairy trainees there’s the re­al­i­sa­tion that the com­pe­ti­tion is just part of teach­ing them a whole new set of skills for life and our re­gion is al­ways well rep­re­sented.’’

Mr Lit­tin said he was pleased to see the com­pe­ti­tion grow­ing and go­ing from strength to strength

Fif­teen en­tries from the South Waikato hope to fol­low Ti­rau farmer Bas Nelis’s suc­cess at re­gional and na­tional level in last year’s Dairy In­dus­try Awards. each year, say­ing a fac­tor in that growth was the fact that en­trants re­alised be­ing in­volved with it helped raise their pro­file in the in­dus­try.

Wynn Brown is this year’s Waikato co-or­di­na­tor for the Dairy Trainee of the Year sec­tion and he’s de­lighted with a ‘‘healthy re­sponse’’.

Over­all, Waikato’s Dairy Trainee of the Year en­try num­bers have in­creased from 30 last year to 36 this year.

‘‘That’s a re­ally good sign. A lot of these trainees are re­al­is­ing farm­ing is mov­ing on to a new level and a new era and are look­ing for ways to pro­mote their name.

‘‘It cer­tainly bodes well for the in­dus­try and I don’t think the judges are go­ing to have an easy job this year, there’s a lot of top tal­ent com­ing through.’’

The first round of judg­ing takes place in the first week of Fe­bru­ary, with a sec­ond round fol­low­ing soon af­ter.

The Waikato win­ners will be an­nounced in March and will at­tend the na­tional fi­nal in May.

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