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South Island Farmer of the Year nominations
Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition and organisers – the Lincoln University Foundation - are hoping for another record year.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging. “We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity.”   

Last year the Foundation made the decision to call for nominations from others as well as farmers entering themselves into the competition. Ben says “Traditionally it has been very hard to get farmers to put their own hand up and say ‘I’m a top-notch farmer’ but when they’re nominated by others that seems to take the ‘tall poppy’ factor out of it and they’re more willing to let their nomination go forward.”

Anyone can make a nomination of a farmer, and all nominees will be contacted by a representative of the Foundation to talk them through the entry process. The Foundation is particularly keen to receive nominations or entries from innovative farmers at the beginning of their careers.

“We want to reward those who have just started this journey, as well as show-case people who have already ‘made it,’ Todhunter says. “Emerging top farmers might not win the overall competition but could well be up for one of the other prizes and, more especially, they will benefit from the analysis and experience that entering provides to enhance their business, so that they might be an overall winner sometime in the future.”

Winners of the South Island Farmer of the Year competition receive a $20,000 travel grant to allow them to go overseas to look at other farming practices, examine new technologies and innovations and enhance their farm business.  In addition, the Foundation offers four special category prizes of $5,000 each. 

Nominations and/or entries are open now and will close on 1 August 2014. Judging will occur during September/October with the finals at Lincoln University in November. The competition is open to any form of primary production farm business including agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and aquaculture: http://www.lincolnuniversityfoundation.org.nz/farmer-of-the-year/