Strong field for dairy awards
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.