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The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition is developing an online internet-based section as part of its 2004 competition.

Competition Chairman Damian Roper says the online quiz and launch of the competition's website are exciting developments in the competition's history.

“Sharemilkers are fast to embrace and adapt new technology to suit their farming business. They are also the group of dairy farmers with the highest percentage of computer users, so it is only apt that we are the first dairy farming competition to identify how the technology can be included within the competition's structure while also offering a new challenge to entrants.”

Mr Roper says dairy companies have also recognised the opportunities available to improve farm productivity through the Internet, with Fonterra – a competition sponsor – recently launching an initiative to deliver broadband technologies to all its shareholders.

“What we are doing, in encouraging sharemilkers to use these technologies, fits perfectly with where the industry is heading.”

The competition's website, recognises the relationship between the competition and Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc), owners of the competition.

“We are really pleased with the website, as it provides sharemilkers interested in entering the competition with another avenue to find out further information about the competition and our sponsors,” Mr Roper says.

The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year is sponsored by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement, Ravensdown and RD1.

The online quiz is being developed by competition management committee member and 2003 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year winner Alison Watters in conjunction with Blue Wing Honda.

“We have developed the online quiz for Blue Wing Honda's ATV Farm Safety special merit award as a separate process to the judging that takes place on the farm. This leaves sharemilkers with more time to concentrate on impressing the judges with their farm business and management expertise” says Mrs Watters.

“Entrants will be given a set of easy-to-follow instructions and have a certain time limit to complete the quiz online.”

The quiz will include pictorial and theoretical questions that will require reference to the ATV safety guidelines and training booklet.

She says sharemilker entrants without a home computer will be given a venue where they can go to complete the quiz.

Entries for the 2004 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year open on November 1. Entry forms will be included in the November issue of Fonterra's Farmlink magazine and can also be obtained by freephoning Federated Farmers 0800 327 646 or downloaded from .

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