The wine industry was never Stuart Dudley’s first career choice. The viticulturist for Villa Maria Wines in Marlborough had his mindset on research or forensics, having completed a degree in Genetics and Biochemistry.
General manager Chris Keeping says there have been significant changes to the awards' competitions for the 2016 programme, including new names and stricter entry criteria. She says the launch events provide an opportunity to understand what those changes are and which contest people are eligible to enter.
Keeping says the first regional launch event will be held in Central Plateau on Friday, October 16, while launch events in other regions will be held over the next two weeks.
"The launch events are typically a lot of fun and provide an opportunity to meet other potential entrants, organisers and sponsors and to learn about the awards from past entrants.
"Central Plateau's having a gumboot throwing competition and giving away prizes, while there'll also be refreshments available. The launch events are very social and are all free to attend. They're also timed to make it easy for farmers to attend."
She says the key changes to this year's contests are:
• The Share Farmer of the Year competition (previously Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year) is open to all self-employed farmers largely responsible for the day-to-day running of the farm, such as sharemilkers, contract milkers, leasees and equity farm managers.
• The Dairy Manager of the Year (previously Farm Manager of the Year) is open to all salaried farm workers, including farm managers, herd managers, production managers and others.
• The criteria in the Dairy Trainee of the Year contest has been changed so that only those aged between 18 to 25 years with up to three years full-time experience on a dairy farm and the equivalent of up to a Level 4 qualification can enter.
For more information on the events and to enter, visit www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.