SI Farmer entries open

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Nominations and entries are open for the 2016 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are expecting wide interest.
Foundation chair Ben Todhunter said there were excellent entries last year which resulted in a tie for the first time. Omarama Station and Clearwater Mussels shared 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,’’ Mr Todhunter said.
The competition offers $40,000 of prizes. The top prize is a $20,000 travel grant to undertake further farm study or pursue farm business opportunities, plus four $5,000 awards for the best performers in specific areas such as resource management, consumer awareness, innovation and human resource management.
Mr Todhunter said the Lincoln University Foundation and competition sponsors this year would be focusing on encouraging entries and/or nominations.
‘‘One of the keys to getting good numbers and a high quality of entries is nominations,’’ he said.
‘‘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 is hoping that agribusinesses, agricultural societies and foundations, and related organisations get behind the competition and put forward nominations to help keep both the quality and variety of entries to the highest level.
It was not just big farming operations that the foundation was looking for.
‘‘We’re looking for leadership, innovation and farming excellence, which can be found equally in small familyowned farm businesses and within large commercial agricultural entities.’’ Nominations and/ or entries close on August 1.