Central Hawke's Bay sheep, beef and deer farmers Grant and Sally Charteris have been named the top farmers in Hawke's Bay.

In front of about 430 people they were last night presented with the Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year Award, the culmination of the Napier Port Hawke's Bay Primary sector awards in the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds Events Centre.

The couple farm 310ha and according to judges, exhibited a "real passion" for their industry, with a vision well beyond the farm gate which is expected to be obvious to all when they host the annual Farmer of the Year Field Day on May 12.

Awards committee chairman, former winner and former Hawke's Bay A and P Society president Peter Tod said a "stand-out" for the judges was the "outstanding physical and financial performances of their farm, their passion for their farm, their business and their family and Grant's inherent ability with his stock and his attention to the detail of their welfare was a privilege to see."


He impressed on others the need to see how it's done, by adding: "It will be an impressive field day next month when we get to see and understand more about how Grant and Sally are achieving award-winning results."

Heading other major presentations last night was Progressive Meats CEO Craig Hickson who claimed the Hastings District Council Industry Leader of the Year award, selection panellists noting his particular passion for Hawke's Bay and the New Zealand sheep industry.

In 2012 he was awarded the Federated Farmers national Agribusiness Person of the year and last year he was acclaimed the Ernst Young New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year.

Rob and Jean Ennor, of Ranui Farms, won the Pan Pac Hawke's Bay Farm Forester of the Year title, recognising their achievements with a 400ha farm which is not only a working sheep and beef property but also a source of education for school and tourist groups.

The Hawke's Bay Farm Foresters field day will be held on the property on May 19. Lincoln University student Olivia Ellis, raised on an Onga Onga farm, and now for studying a Bachelor of Agriculture Science with honours focusing on sheep genetics, was awarded the Lawson Robinson Hawke's Bay A and P Scholarship.

Wool industry guru Bay de Lautour rounded-off a night of Central Hawke's Bay triumphs as winner of the Laurie Dowling Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture in Hawke's Bay.

A founder of the East Coast Wool Co-op when it was formed in 1974 in Dannevirke, he was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2000 for services to farming, and remains involved as chairman of successor Primary Wool. It is a 50 per cent owner of CP Wool, which trades locally and internationally, is a major shareholder in New Zealand Yarn and owns the international wool carpet brand Just Shorn.

AgFirst director Phil Tither was awarded the inaugural Bayleys Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Professional of the Year award. He is a registered member of the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management and has made a significant contribution to the rural professional sector over many years, bringing young people into farm consultancy and in the development of Farmax to be the pre-eminent tool for farm management.