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The awards will be launched at a function at the Cross Recreation Centre in Balclutha tomorrow at 7.30pm.
Mrs Johnson, who is regional convener, urged people to "come along and launch yourself and your career".
"I think I'm ready for all the excuses, like being too busy, too shy, business isn't good enough, on a new farm, too inexperienced, farm or herd is too small and run down or our system can't be compared.
"The answer is that people can't afford not to make the time and gain from the personal growth and business development. The competition isn't about being perfect. It is about progress," she said.
Mrs Johnson and her husband, Tim, have first-hand knowledge of the competition, after winning the region's sharemilker/equity farmer of the year title last year.
The couple, who farm in West Otago, had an interesting background, having run a gift and homeware shop in Wellington for eight years.
The launch provided an opportunity for interested people to learn more about the awards and the entry process.
Entrants in the sharemilker/equity farmer of the year, farm manager of the year or dairy trainee of the year first compete in one of 12 regional competitions.
Entries in the 2013 awards programme can be made online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
Entries close on December 20.
There was "so much to be gained" from entering, Mrs Johnson said.
"We think the awards are great and have enjoyed the opportunity to meet a wide range of people as well as motivate and encourage others to get involved."
Benefits included getting a "head start" in the employment market and receiving feedback on business performance to identify strengths and areas to develop, as well as gaining some financial and business credibility with rural institutions.
It was also an opportunity to develop a wider network with other motivated trainees, managers, sharemilkers, potential equity partners and rural professionals.
There was an early entry incentive, with three Honda XR125 Duster farm bikes valued about $4000 each to be drawn from those who entered online before December 1, with one farm bike to be won in each contest. The national final will be held in Wellington.