A red wave swept through the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards last night.
The national winners will be announced at a black tie awards dinner at Te Pae in Christchurch on Saturday May 14, after the finalists complete a final round of judging.
The finalists will complete for a total prize pool worth around $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.
General Manager Robin Congdon says the 32 finalists from 11 regions are the cream of the crop from all the entries received.
"It was fantastic to attend the regional dinners and feel the excitement of the wins and see the journey each finalist has taken, both professionally and personally," says Congdon.
"We're thrilled these dinners were able to proceed and the live-streaming on Facebook was well-received.
"The Awards promote best practice and celebrate all entrants and finalists. It's not just about winning, it's a programme of learning, connecting and personal and professional growth."
This year, due to entrant withdrawals in the Share Farmer category in Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa and Manawatū, organisers trialled a benchmarking system in these two regions which allowed entrants to compete the programme and be placed accordingly.
Places were determined by the overall score achieved, which was then benchmarked against the scores for places across all the regions and this resulted in a first and third place for Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa and a runner-up for Manawatū.
Congdon says there was a mix of gender, age, farming experience and career backgrounds amongst the regional finalists, along with 18 finalists who were on a work visa - six in the Dairy Trainee category, 11 in the Dairy Manager category and one in the Share Farmer category.
"We are looking forward to celebrating success and best practice in the dairy industry at our Gala Dinner in May at the brand-new Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, and judging by the number of tickets sold already, many people feel the same."
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian and Ravensdown, along with industry partners DairyNZ and MediaWorks.