Two weeks to go for entries to South Island Farmer of the Year

Only two weeks remain for nominations and/or entries into the top South Island farming competition, the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year.

Entries/nominations close 1 August and Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says he’s keen to see a similar range of entries to 2015 to reflect the diversity of farming excellence, leadership and entrepreneurialism on the South Island.

“Last year we had excellent entries which resulted in a tie, with Omarama Station and Clearwater Mussels sharing the honours. This substantially boosted public interest and we had excellent attendance at all of our events. We anticipate this level of interest will continue in 2016.”

Todhunter says one of the keys to getting good numbers and a high quality of entries is nominations.

“In earlier years it was difficult to get farmers to put their own hand up, but since we have allowed nominations, entries have shot up as it seems to take the ‘tall poppy’ factor out of it and farmers are more willing to let their nomination go forward.”

He says that the way the competition is judged, small family-owned enterprises stand just as good a chance as large corporate operations of winning one of the four special prizes of $5000 cash or the top prize of a $20,000 travel/study grant.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and farming excellence, which can be found equally in any farm business, large or small.”

Last year’s joint winner John Young of Clearwater Mussels says entering the competition has real benefits for the farmers.

“The expectations from the Lincoln team to condense and tell our farming story gave us the unexpected benefit of analysing our farming strategies, our financial markers, our people, our markets, and using this to build a more robust and innovative business,” Young says. “The support from Lincoln Foundation, the media, industry, and the public during and after the competition, and the ability to educate a wider audience, has been immense.”

Nominations and/or entries can be made on line

Apply online

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.