Northland sharemilkers Colin and Isabella Beazley won the 2019 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year on Saturday night at the NZ Dairy Industry Awards.
“It’s a great result and we are thrilled with the response,” says Chris Keeping, the awards general manager.
“Changing the visa entry criteria has also seen an increase overall in entry numbers in the dairy manager and dairy trainee categories.”
The Canterbury-North Otago region fielded the most entries (59); 17 are for Share Farmer of the Year, 30 for Dairy Manager of the Year and 12 for Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Nationally, 106 entries were received in the share farmer category, 166 entered the dairy manager category and 121 entered for Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Keeping says this means strong competition in each of the 11 regions -- great for the entrants, categories and organisers.
The Central Plateau region topped the entry numbers (47), Southland-Otago fielded 46 entries, and Hawkes Bay, West Coast-Top of the South, Auckland-Hauraki and Waikato fielded 38, 37, 36 and 34 entries respectively.
Keeping says the regions worked hard to attract entries and she is rapt that all three categories will be contested in all 11 regions.
“Previous awards winners continue to make an impact in the industry and many are clear leaders,” she says. “All entrants can give themselves a huge pat on the back as they’ve taken an important step in enhancing their career and farm business just by entering the awards.”
Judging will begin in the new year for the 11 regional categories, with winners announced at dinners nationwide in March next year.
The 33 winners of those categories will then contest the national finals in Wellington next May.