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04 May 2016
CRUNCH TIME FOR SHARE FARMER FINALISTS Judging is underway in the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year competition, with the 11 finalists having just two hours to make an impression on the judges.

The winner will be announced at the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national awards dinner in Wellington on Saturday May 14. Along with winners in the New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, they will share prizes worth nearly $170,000.

The New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year judges kicked off an 11-day tour of New Zealand’s heartland in Northland on Sunday <May 1>, where they judged Northland regional finalists Glen and Trish Rankin.

Led by DairyNZ representative Abby Scott, the judges, which also include Westpac representative Mark Horgan and Thames dairy farmer Neil Gray, will drive nearly 2000 kilometres and take five flights as they visit the finalists on their farms in locations from Otautau, Leeston and Springs Junction in the South Island to Foxton, Whakatane, Pepepe and Dannevirke in the North Island.

“Judging is a huge deal for these finalists as the national results can create huge opportunities for them and their career in the dairy industry even in these tough economic times,” General Manager Chris Keeping says.

“Just preparing for judging is hugely valuable as the finalists gain a better understanding of their farm business and career aspirations, as well as the steps they need to take to achieve their goals. However they place at nationals, they will have gained considerably from the experience.”

Mrs Keeping says the finalists are a cross section of sharemilkers, contract milkers and equity farm managers but are all self-employed. For three finalists it is their first time entering the awards programme, while another three finalists have entered for a fourth time.

“Many have had careers outside the dairy industry and bring a wealth of experience in a variety of fields – from teaching, journalism, sales, finance and forestry to name a few.”

Most are aged in their 30’s, with only one finalist over 40 years of age. Three of the finalists own or contract milk herds of cows of 300 or less while four have herds larger than 600 cows to manage.

The judging concludes on Wednesday May 11 with Manawatu regional finalist Stephen Shailer. The finalists all meet in Wellington that night and have a programme of activities leading into the awards dinner.

Their final component of judging, an interview, also takes place in Wellington with the judges joined by New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust Chair Alister Body.

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

Further information on the awards can be found at, including areas of interest to the judges.

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