A lack of entries in the Otago regional competition of the
New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has forced a revamp of the
While a record 566 entries were received for the contest
nationally, only three came from Otago in the
sharemilker/equity farmer of the year, four in the farm
manager of the year and 12 in the dairy trainee of the year.
In contrast, Canterbury-North Otago received 83 entries,
including 40 in the dairy trainee contest.
The lack of Otago entrants has forced the awards executive to
reconsider running a full competition in the region, which
was ''quite gutting'', awards chairman Matthew Richards said
Entrants in the sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager
contests would be assessed under normal judging conditions
and a presentation made to the highest scoring entrant from
each competition. However, they would not receive the Otago
sharemilker/equity farmer of the year or Otago farm manager
of the year titles and there would be no merit awards.
The Otago dairy trainee of the year competition would go
ahead as normal, with the winner progressing to the national
final in Wellington in May. Details were still being
finalised for an Otago awards presentation on April 6.
It had been a tough decision, and while it was ''really
disappointing'' for the entrants and frustrating for the
organisers, it was important robust competitions were held in
each region to maintain the integrity of the awards, Mr
Otago had struggled with entries for a few years and, as they
did not want to have the situation arise again, the awards
executive would take some time and discuss options with local
organisers, entrants and sponsors. One option was merging the
region with Southland.
Mr Richards had met this year's Otago entrants and was
''blown away'' by the calibre. Most were first-time entrants
and he believed it would be good for them to ''go through the
process'', as they would still have another chance to enter
Otago was the only region to have an issue with the number of
entries this year.
''To be fair, Otago is a small region as far as sharemilkers
and managers go,'' he said.