The hunt is on again for New Zealand’s top dairy, sheep and beef agricultural consultants and emerging rural professional with nominations for the Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards now officially open.
This year’s award winners will be announced at the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management’s (NZIPIM) annual conference in on 3 August in Ashburton.
The awards comprise three major categories: the Dairy NZ Dairy Consultant of the Year, the Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year, and the NZIPIM Emerging Rural Professional of the Year.
Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said the Farmax awards, now in their third year, recognise the expertise and value agricultural consultants and rural professionals provide to the New Zealand pastoral farming industry.
“Agricultural consultants and rural professionals not only promote excellence in pastoral farming in New Zealand, but through their advice and skills contribute directly to many new Zealand farmer’s bottom-line.”
The $20,000 award prize pool for the top three categories includes a paid overseas study trip, funds for professional development and funds to take paid hours off work to complete a project or initiative that will be of benefit to the pastoral farming industry.
Last year’s winners were Wairarapa consultant Chris Lewis, Canterbury consultant Wayne Allan and Hawke’s Bay’s Abron consultant Hannah Best.
Allan, who has his own consulting company, won the Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year and is part way through his project that looks at understanding seasonal returns from sheep and deer, and feeding on those margins to increase overall profitability.
He says winning the Farmax award has been great for his profile and that he plans to attend the International Farm Management Association Congress in Quebec, Canada in July.
2014 Dairy Consultant of the Year Chris Lewis has completed his research, having received 70 replies to his survey, which he says is a testament to the respect those in the industry have for the awards and his project.
Lewis’ project was around gauging consultant’s perceptions of environmental indices, where consultants are getting their information from currently, and what changes and opportunities they see necessary to improve this suite of tools going forward.
Hannah Best, who was named Emerging Rural Professional in last year’s awards, has recently moved on from Abron to take on a business extension role with Ballance Agri-Nutrients.
She has collected the data for her project, which is trialling an inoculum product on New Zealand farms that is currently not being used commercially in New Zealand, to establish appropriate application methods and ideal application rates.
She said Abron is collecting more data on the trial in other crops in different parts of New Zealand.
The 2015 Consultant of the Year Awards are open entry for all consultants and emerging rural professionals, who can put forward their names for the top three categories or they can be nominated by a client or colleague.
“Entry criteria includes a written brief about the consultant, including a description about how they would use the 40 hours funded research to benefit the pastoral industry. The judging process will robust, impartial and thorough, with all sponsors being represented, along with a high profile farmer,” said McEwen.
Criteria on how the judging process is carried out will also be available for those interested.
Award nominations can be downloaded from the Farmax website from www.farmax.co.nz.
Applications close on 26 June.