Securing a great employer is the key for young people entering the dairy industry.
"National sponsors play a key role and it is great to have their ongoing support. Some of our sponsors have been associated with the awards since their inception more than 30 years ago," says NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon.
"Over this time, we have found a real benefit from sponsorship is the relationships that develop between entrants and sponsor representatives as they network, work together and learn from each other.
"Meridian are fantastic supporters of the dairy industry and the name change of the merit award to the Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award will continue to drive environmental best practic and excellence," he says.
Meridian agribuisiness national sales manager Dave Greenwood says sustainability is at the core of everything done at Meridian.
"We wanted the merit award to reflect the importance of sustainability in the dairy industry.
"We think it's important to support and give back to the rural industry and our sponsorship of the awards is a great way to do this.
"We are proud that we have re-signed this sponsorship for the next three years and look forward to supporting the entrants on their journey."
Last month NZDIA announced that Westpac was pulling the plug on its sponsorship after a 10-year partnership.
The awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, Meridian Energy, and Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ.
Entries open for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on October 1 with registrations of interest able to be made now at dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
An announcement on the date and location of the 2022 National Awards gala dinner is expected by the end of August.