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The 2004 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Competition regional convenors are preparing to encourage sharemilkers to enter the competition and reap rewards.

The 11 convenors are meeting in Wellington on October 9 and 10, where they will gain the information and tools necessary to accept entries from November 1 and run strong regional competitions.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says many of the regional convenors, who are all voluntary, have already run competitions in their area and know what to expect.

“The two-day meeting will help ensure the regional competitions run smoothly, while also providing guidance to the new convenors, with plenty of helpful tips and advice.”

Ms Keeping provides support to the convenors and says the meeting is held to outline the 2004 competition structure and format, and answer any questions convenors may have.

She says the voluntary support given by the convenors and their committees to support the competition is huge and a key contributor to its success.

“These convenors give hours of their own time to the competition. Most have participated in the competition successfully and know the benefits from entering and networking with other competitors, sponsors, judges and rural professionals.

“Our regional convenors will be the first to say that the benefits from entering are much greater than the prizes received. The Sharemilker of the Year focuses sharemilkers on their business plans, providing confidence to grow their business and also raise their profile – a key benefit from entering the competition in an increasingly competitive job market.”

The regional convenors are:

· Auckland/North Waikato – Mitchell & Lynne Bragg, Ngatea

· Waikato – Chris & Angelene Mason, Morrinsville

· Bay of Plenty – David & Shona Knight, Whakatane

· Central Plateau – Shona Frame, Rotorua

· Taranaki – Jane Roper & Darryl Hickey, Waverley and Opunake

· Manawatu/Rangitikei – Murray & Nikki Hawkings, Foxton

· Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa – David & Louise Powick, Pahiatua

· West Coat/Top of the South – Chris & Paula Riddle, Kumara

· Canterbury – Jo & David Drake, Geraldine

· Otago – Peter & Ginny O'Neill, Milton

· Southland – Paul Diprose, Invercargill.

The 2004 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year is run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and is supported by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement, Ravensdown and

The winner of each of the regional competitions will go forward to compete against the winners of the other regional competitions in a national final to be held in Masterton on May 8 next year.

Entry forms are available from convenors, by freephoning Federated Farmers 0800 327 646, and will also be inserted in the November issue of Fonterra's Farmlink supplier newsletter.

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