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Finalists for environmental farm awards

MEDIA RELEASE
Finalists for environmental farm awards

For immediate release: Tuesday 10 February 2004

Six Bay of Plenty farms and orchards are on the shortlist for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards this year.

They are Alister and Shirley Snodgrass (Whakatane), Laurie and Joy Shearer (Te Puke), Hans and Jan Pendergrast (Tauranga), Kapenga M Trust (Rotorua), Dave and Margaret Wright (Whakatane) and Stuart Steel (Te Puke).

Over the past few months, judges have visited entrants to assess their farming practices. Katikati farmer Ian Pirani, leader of the judging team, says the standard was so high it made it extremely difficult to select finalists.

“We were very impressed,” he says. “It’s great to see so many people working really hard to lift environmental standards.”

Mr Pirani says all entrants receive in-depth feedback from judges, who come from organisations such as Federated Farmers, the Farm Forestry Association, the ANZ and Environment Bay of Plenty, which runs the event regionally.

“As a judge for the last two years, I have learnt a lot that I can put into practice on my own farm,” he says. He knows entrants find it “just as valuable” and hopes previous entrants will put their names down for next year’s event. “It is just as worthwhile the second time around.”

Environment Bay of Plenty coordinator Sheree Phillips says the rural sector has supported the event wholeheartedly.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are now run annually in seven regions. They promote the concept that sustainable farming is practical, achievable and profitable. Principal sponsor for the national awards programme is Ballance Agri-Nutrients, with support from ANZ Bank, Wrightson, Gallagher, Richmonds and Livestock Improvement Corporation.

After a further round of judging, award winners will be announced in April.

ENDS

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