Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says there is a lot of apprehension among farmers about the future as they follow and experience the disruptions caused by Covid and also by the war in Ukraine.
Judging for the 11 regional programmes are underway around the country and regional award dinners will be held over the next two months.
Organisers say, after consultation with regional teams and national sponsors, the much-anticipated evenings will continue, following government guidelines for events at 'red traffic light' settings.
"We know these award dinners are an important part of the rural community's calendar on many levels, which is why we will follow government guidelines to deliver an evening where success can be recognised and celebrated," says NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon.
"This means the dinners will have a maximum attendance of 100 people, who will be required to show vaccine passes at the venue. We realise capping numbers means some will miss out, and for those who can't attend, the events will be livestreamed on the relevant regional dairy industry award Facebook page."
Tickets will be offered directly to finalists, their supporters, entrants and sponsors. Any remaining general admission tickets will be made available online.
"Of course, in the current environment, we understand some people may be hesitant about attending the dinners, and we respect their decision if they don't want to attend," says Congdon.
"Our remit is to deliver the Awards programme and the benefits it brings to dairy farmers.
"We are rapt judging will continue and entrants will be able to receive feedback and benefit from benchmarking themselves against others, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of best practice."