A red wave swept through the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards last night.
Entries are now open and all three categories have been refreshed and revamped, after months of consultation, feedback and discussion.
Entries can be made online via the awards website www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon says it's very important that the awards programme remains relevant and that issues raised in feedback were addressed.
The Share Farmer, Dairy Manager and Dairy Trainee categories have been future-proofed to ensure the awards programme provides the best platform for all entrants to learn, connect and grow.
This can be seen in the changes to judging in the Dairy Trainee category, with skills day providing an opportunity to learn, not just be judged, he says.
Dairy Manager conditions of entry changes include removing the minimum time spent on a New Zealand farm in relation to visa restrictions.
Merit awards now reflect the evolving New Zealand dairy industry with the powerplay dropped and the emerging talent award replacing the encouragement award.
Regional merit name changes include the DairyNZ People & Engagement Leadership Award, Environment & Sustainability Award replacing the Leadership Award and the Pasture & Feed Management Award.
"There's also an exciting opportunity for regional sponsors to claim naming rights to the Planning & Financial Management Award, which hasn't been available for many years," says Congdon.
The Share Farmer category has also been under the microscope with changes including an easier entry process, lessening the work load of judges who are all volunteers and to ensure the category is still fit for purpose.
"Changes are also being made to the appraisal process which will help eliminate the potential for it to become or be perceived as a box ticking," he says.
"There's a real buzz around all the changes and the regional committees are excited to put them into practice."
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy and Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ.
The National Awards Dinner will be returning to Christchurch for the first time since May 2008.
The dinner will be held at Te Pae on May 14.
"We are excited to bring our programme partners, sponsors, regional finalists and their supporters for a week of experiences and personal development in and around Christchurch."