Southern sheep breeders are among the finalists in the 2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.
More than 300 people are expected to attend the awards dinner, which recognises the country's top-performing sheep breeders, in Napier on August 6.
Ermedale sheep farmer Leon Black has been nominated for the Farmlands individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry.
"It was a surprise and unexpected.
"I feel very honoured to even be considered and thought of by my peers for my efforts in the industry," Black said.
Black, his wife, Wendy, and his parents, Peter and Marion, farm the Blackdale stud comprising coopworths, texels, texel-coopworths, texel-suffolks and textras.
Black also served six years as the southern South Island director of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Dunedin consultancy firm Abacus Bio has been nominated for the Allflex sheep industry innovation award, while its managing director Neville Jopson has been nominated for the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award.
Two new awards have been added to the competition this year including the Sheep Industry Science Award which recognises a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming, and the Sheep Industry Supplier Award, which recognises a farmer supplier nominated by processors for consistently meeting company specifications and other key performance indicators.
Alongside these awards are the highly anticipated genetics-related awards.
These are calculated on breeders' performance in SIL-ACE (Advanced Central Evaluation) - the large-across flock and breed genetic evaluation of about 300 ram breeding flocks.
Blackdale Coopworths are also finalists in the genetic trait awards along with Twin Farm TEFRoms, Mt Linton Station Suftex, Nithdale Station Romneys, Focus Genetics, Mike McElrea's Gowan Brae Perendales and Newhaven Perendales.
The Sheep Industry Awards were held in Invercargill in 2012 and 2013.
- The Southland Times
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