Women feature strongly in this year’s line-up of contestants in the 2020 Bay of Plenty regional Dairy Industry Awards round, as final judging gets underway this month.
DIA regional awards manager for the BOP, Mark Lawrence, says the regional competition has a total of 19 entrants this year and half of the Dairy Trainee category contestants are female.
“We have nine Dairy Trainee entrants, five Dairy Managers and five Share Farmer entries,” says Mark.
“Half of the Dairy Trainees are ladies – and entrants in all categories are relatively young. And those who’ve entered come from Whakatane, through to Te Puke through to Galatea, so a big diverse area of representation.”
Mark, who has been a dairy farmer for half of his life and a former manager of two BOP FarmSource stores, says today’s DIA competition offers much more diversity in entrants and what can be learned and achieved compared to a similar competition in his day.
“When I was working we had the Sharemilker of the Year competition – but it didn’t have the diversity we have in the DIAs now.
“I think this competition is great. To me it has two benefits. First, it profiles people for future jobs. And the other thing it allows contestants to learn about what others in their industry are doing on their farming businesses – how they are doing it, why they are doing it and so on – at an in-depth level.”
Mark says contestants also have the opportunity via the awards process to question, glean advice and learn from the DIA judges, who are rural professionals and successful farmers – including some who’ve gone through the competition in the past.
“It is really neat that they can find out how these farmers have got to where they are – so there’s some free valuable lessons on offer in the competition.”
Mark has even heard of entrants who have returned to work post-competition and brokered a promotion or professional development opportunity from their results in the DIAs and from the judges’ analysis of their skills.
“This competition is not for everyone but it just shows a level of understanding of what is needed to progress in this industry and a dairying career.”
With preliminary judging for the BOP region complete, the final judging round for the Dairy Trainee category is on February 17. The Share Farmer and Dairy Manager entrants will be judged February 18-20.
Winners will be announced at the BOP Regional Awards dinner on March 4 at Awakeri Events Centre.
Then a regional Winners’ Field Day will be held March 24, with the location to be on-site of the regional Share Farmer winners’ farming business.
For more information, see: www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz/regions/bay-of-plenty