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Strong pool of entrants for farm environment award

11 November 2004

Strong pool of entrants for farm environment awards

A major Bay of Plenty farm environment award kicks off its third year with a strong pool of entrants from all over the region.

Environment Bay of Plenty coordinator Sheree Phillips has received 23 entries for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards this year, an indication of the “wholehearted support” by the region’s rural sector for them.

While many entrants are new, a number are returning for a second time because they want to learn more, both from judges and from their peers, Ms Phillips says. “Entrants receive encouragement and advice from the assessors that visit their property during the judging process. Many also use the awards as a way to exchange ideas and practices with others. It really is a stimulating experience – and a lot of fun too.”

Ms Phillips says assessors include representatives with expertise in land management, conservation and finance. Teams of three will visit every property over the next few months to conduct a peer review of the whole farming system. Early next year, judges will re-visit the short-listed entrants for a more in-depth analysis, with award winners to be announced at a special event in April. A field day will be held at the Supreme Award winner’s property shortly after that.

This year’s entrants cover a range of farming businesses from horticulture to beef, sheep and dairy.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards promote the concept that sustainable farming is practical, achievable and profitable and that good environmental management is good for business.

They will be held in seven regions this year. Principal sponsor for the national awards programme is Ballance Agri-nutrients, with support from ANZ Bank, Gallagher, Richmond, Hill Laboratories and Livestock Improvement Corporation. Environment Bay of Plenty coordinated the region’s first two events and has now confirmed its support for future ones.

ENDS

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