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Nominate a friend or neighbour for farm awards

Thursday 21 October 2004

Nominate a friend or neighbour for farm awards

Know any farmers or orchardists who are doing great things for the environment in the Bay of Plenty?

If so, you are invited to nominate them for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, which close for entries on Friday 5 November.

Regional judging coordinator Ian Pirani says people are sometimes reluctant to put themselves forward for the awards. “They may not think they’re doing enough or are a bit shy. But, they may not realise how much they will benefit from taking part - they learn so much from the assessors and other entrants. It also gives them the chance to share their knowledge and to work with others for a better environment.”

Mr Pirani encourages friends, neighbours and colleagues to suggest entrants. “All they have to do is pick up the phone and call me. When I have a name, I’ll take it from there,” he says.

The Ballance Farm Environment Award Programme, which is coordinated regionally by Environment Bay of Plenty, is based on the concept that sustainable farming is practical, achievable and profitable. It aims to encourage sustainable land management and to demonstrate to farmers that profitability need not compromise environmental values – and can actually restore and enhance them.

The awards recognise farmers who are working to enhance and develop their farm into a sustainable operation. Teams of assessors with specialist skills and experience study the whole farming systems of entrants. They will look for farms where water runs clean, soil structure supports healthy pastures, crops and stock, and where effluent is well managed. They will also assess how indigenous plants and animals of value are protected and whether the business is profitable.

Mr Pirani says, by profiling winners, the awards encourage New Zealand farmers to be more proactive in their resource management. They support New Zealand’s “clean green” image and help make sure the country has an environment “we can still be proud of” in 100 years time. “New Zealanders should be striving to become world leaders in farming – and we are already pretty close,” he says.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards programmes are also held in the Waikato, Manawatu/Wanganui, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

Principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients is joined in supporting the Farm Environment Awards by ANZ Bank, Richmonds, Livestock Improvement Corporation, Gallagher Group and Hill Laboratories.

Entries for the Bay of Plenty awards close on Friday 5 November. To nominate someone or to enter, call Ian Pirani on 07 552 0827, or Sheree Phillips at Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267).


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