A decision has been made to drop the annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) Sheep Industry Awards for a year.

Since 2012, the awards, which were an idea of the southern South Island Farmer Council, have celebrated success in the sheep industry.

Five southerners received awards at last year's event, which was held in July.

Over the past five years, more than 30 awards had been presented to southern farmers.

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BLNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the awards were the one occasion that brought stakeholders together to recognise the people and genetics that made the sheep industry world-leading.

''To ensure the awards stay relevant and reflect the changing nature of the sheep industry, the organisation has chosen to take a one-year break to re-evaluate and, where necessary, re-purpose the awards.

''We will be reviewing the format, timing and criteria for all the awards and throughout the process will be talking with farmers and all other stakeholders to ensure that when they return in 2019, [they] will be as successful as they have been in the past.''

BLNZ was grateful for the support it had received in running the awards since 2012, Mr McIvor said.

BLNZ has already received some feedback from farmers and industry stakeholders about improvements that could be made and the organisation would be talking to them over the coming months as part of the review.

''We're committed to drawing on the collective experience of those who have been involved to help develop a great event for the future,'' he said.

Southern Rural Life