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Sharemilker Winners Benchmark Their Business

Taranaki Sharemilker of the Year winners Peter and Tanya Ford say the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition has given them valuable insights and exposure to progress in their sharemilking career.

The couple won the Taranaki regional prize, as well as two merit awards - the Bank of New Zealand Financial Award and the Ravensdown Pasture Management Award - to take home prizes worth almost $13,000 from the awards evening at the Stratford Town Hall last night. (March 14).

"We entered the competition so we could benchmark ourselves against other sharemilkers and constructively scrutinise our business from a different perspective," they say.

The Fords have been 50:50 sharemilking for the past three years, after lower order sharemilking for the previous seven years. They run a 290 strong herd on an 81 hectare Manaia property owned by Harry and Helen Bayliss.

They will now progress to the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year final in Auckland on May 3, where they will compete for a total prize pool worth more than $60,000.

ACC, Blue Wing Honda, Bank of New Zealand, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement, Ravensdown, Ecolab, RD1, Dairy InSight and Dexcel sponsor the competition.

The Ford's say that the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Competition, run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc, has allowed them to gain a clearer picture of their business and form a network of contacts.

"The competition has provided some very helpful insights into self-marketing. The exposure that you get through the competition can really advance your career.

"We have also been able to meet our peers and compare notes. Overall, we've really been able to improve our business through entering the competition."

The Fords' long-term goal is to progress through the sharemilking system to the point of farm ownership, without compromising their lifestyle.

Rodney and Melissa McQuaig of New Plymouth were placed second, with Steven Whittaker and Frances Forster of Urenui coming third.

Christopher and Catherine Cook of Manaia won the Variable Percentage Prize valued at more than $2000.

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