Northland's sheep and beef farmers are being encouraged to put forward nominations for New Zealand's inaugural industry awards.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand spokeswoman Sandra Taylor said dairy beef farmers, which feature prominently in Northland's industry, were also being encouraged to take part.
"There are some top operators in Northland working in dairy beef so we'd love to see nominations coming in from that sector as well as sheep and beef farmers. Dairy beef farmers are an important part of the beef system in Northland.
"It's time to really celebrate the sheep and beef industry, which doesn't happen enough,'' she said.
Entries are now open in the inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards which celebrate the people and technologies that make this country's red meat sector world-leading.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand's chairman Andrew Morrison is encouraging people to either enter or nominate others for one or more of the eight award categories.
"These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase our sector to the wider public while fostering excellence. I really encourage people to think about the great individuals, technologies and initiatives that have made a difference to our industry and to put their name forward. Alternatively, they can enter themselves."
The awards incorporate sheep and beef, including dairy beef, and are aimed at anyone working along the red meat sector value chain.
"Anyone working in any aspect of the red meat supply chain will know of someone who is deserving of recognition and these awards are a great platform to share knowledge and celebrate success."
Farmlands has come on board as a platinum sponsor and other sponsors will be announced shortly.
"It is testament to the calibre of these awards, and the red meat sector, that Farmlands has got in behind these the Beef + Lamb Awards from the outset. Their support, along with our other category partners, will help us grow these awards to ensure they are a highlight in the industry's calendar."
Taylor said sheep and beef farmers have not tended to have the chance to celebrate their achievements compared with their dairy farming counterparts.
"In Northland there are farmers doing really impressive work in environmental management, staff training, innovative use of technology and feed and grazing systems. They are particularly good in those areas and we hope through these awards the public will gain a bit more understanding as well,'' she said.
"There are a whole lot of factors that go into the successful operation of a sheep and beef farm.''
The new awards have arisen from the sheep industry awards which had grown to be a major event.
"We decided it was time to rejig them and include beef farmers.
"Hopefully farmers will be brave enough to put in nominations for themselves or at least nominate others who they know are doing a good job.
"There are eight different award categories, so there are lots of opportunities for farmers to tell their story,'' she said.
Award categories are Emerging Achiever Award, People Development Award, Significant Sector Contribution Award, Rural Champion Award, Science and Research Award, Technology Award, Innovation Farming Award and Market Leader Award.
Nominations can be done by filling in a form on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand website, and farmers can be entered into more than one category. The farming operation being nominated needed to agree to the nomination.
Entries close on August 27, and judging will include phone interviews in two rounds for finalists.
"We have a judging panel made up of industry representatives and experts in their field. There is no on-farm judging."
The winners will be announced at a gala showcase in Napier on October 20. Prize packages were still being finalised but "there will be a lot of glory for the winners", she said.
As well as championing the industry leaders, the awards were an opportunity to tell the story of New Zealand sheep and beef farming to the wider public, she said.
Entry is free and all information about the Beef + Lamb Awards is on B+LNZ's website, www.beeflambnz.com.