For the first time in its seven year history the Zanda McDonald Award will go to two winners - one from each side of the Tasman.
The change for 2021 is due to Covid-19 restrictions, which prevent the award judges from being able to interview the usual shortlist of six together in one place, to determine the overall winner for Australasia.
Therefore eight young people have made the shortlist for the transtasman award – four from Australia, and four from New Zealand.
The judges felt it was important to adapt the award to fit the current climate, since the interviews would need to take place separately in Australia and New Zealand, Award chairman Richard Rains said.
Rains, who is also a member of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP), (the Australasian networking group supporting the award), said Covid-19 had created "an exciting opportunity for us to look at things differently".
"As judges, we've been blown away by the talent and capabilities of this years' applicants, and to maintain the integrity of the award, we want to continue interviewing the shortlist face-to-face if we can."
"So this year, our kiwi judges will select a New Zealand winner, and our Aussie judges will select an Australian winner, through face-to-face interviews when domestic travel allows."
Rains said this would provide the best outcome for the finalists, as they could spend time with the judges during the interview process.
"It also means we can invest in the future of two winners, and help with their future career and personal development, for the wider benefit of the agriculture sector," he said.
The candidates were selected for their passion for the industry, strong leadership skills, and the contributions they've made to the primary sector.
"We're thrilled with the candidates that have made the shortlist, who all demonstrate ambition, passion and a desire to make their mark on the industry, and we can't wait to get the interviews underway," Rains said.
"The 2021 finalists sure are a talented bunch."
• Hugh Dawson, 22, Head Stockman at Barkly Pastoral Company in the Northern Territory
• Oli Le Lievre, 28, Consultant at KPMG in Melbourne and Founder of Humans of Agriculture
• Rozzie O'Reilly, 28, Breeding Manager at Lambpro in New South Wales
• Tim Emery, 35, a Technical Officer with Tropical Beef Technology Services at the Agricultural Business Research Institute in Roma.
New Zealand finalists
• Genevieve Steven, 26, a Farm Enterprise Consultant at KPMG in Ashburton
• Jenna Smith, 34, Chief Executive of Pouarua Farms in the Hauraki Plains
• Sam VivianGreer, 31, a Farm Consultant at Baker Ag in Masterton
• Becks Smith, 33, Director of The Whole Story and Veterinarian at VetEnt in Ranfurly.
Interviews will take place over the coming months, and the winners will be announced in March 2021, and will be invited to attend the PPP Conference in Christchurch.
The Australian and the New Zealand winner will each pick up an impressive personal development package, including a fully personalised mentoring trip in Australia and New Zealand (when travel allows), up to $10,000 worth of tailored education or training, media coaching, and an all-expenses paid trip to the 2021 PPP Conference.