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Last night Fonterra celebrated the best of its New Zealand manufacturing sites at the Best Site Cup awards.
The awards, which are now in their 15th year, were considered "the Oscars of manufacturing," Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray told The Country Sport Breakfast's Brian Kelly.
It was a "great gathering" especially since the awards didn't go ahead last year because of Covid-19 restrictions, Whineray said.
"The teams have enjoyed getting together face to face and celebrating what is a hotly contested swag of trophies."
There were 18 awards up for grabs, and Whineray wanted to highlight a few of them.
Pahiatua in the Lower North Island received the Sustainability Cup for the second year in a row.
"That site recently achieved three water neutral days last season – which means the site generated as much water from the milk - and recycling that water - as it used," Whineray said.
Southland had a successful night, with Lower South Island sites taking home a total of four cups.
"Edendale secured a couple of the biggest ones, picking up the Transformation Cup and Best Big Site for their ongoing sustained performance."
Fonterra's Kauri site in Northland won Best Medium Site, and Otago's "fantastic little cheese plant," Stirling, went home with the Best Small Site for the second year in a row, Whineray said.
Other highlights included the Customer cup, which recognised two sites for working together - Edgecumbe and the Palmerston North Research and Development Centre's Microbial Fermentation Unit (MFU).
"They worked together on a critical area of probiotics, which is an extremely high value-add ingredient activity that we do," Whineray said.
Fonterra had 26 manufacturing sites and employed close to 7,000 people throughout the country, in a range of roles from factory processors to tanker operators, food safety and quality experts and environmental managers.
"[There was] a lot of people coming together, and a lot of expertise - it was a great night."
Meanwhile, the 53rd FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition kicked off this week, and four of the seven finalists had links to Fonterra, Whineray said.
"Jake Jarman representing Taranaki/Manawatu, Sam Hodsell for Otago/Southland, Dale McAlwee for Aorangi and Kieran McCahon for Waikato/Bay of Plenty.
"So good luck to all of the finalists and I'm looking forward to seeing the results from, again, what's a very hotly contested award celebrating great things in the sector."