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Entrants Lead Way In Sustainable Farming

Entrants Lead The Way With Their Approach To Sustainable Farming

Judging is underway in this year’s Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards, which this year has seen 15 farms putting themselves forward to be assessed on their sustainable farming processes.

However there’s a lot more to the awards than seeing what practices farmers are using on their farms according to John Bourke,chairman of the Bay of Plenty BFEA management team.

“The awards have a real sustainable and learning focus,” he says. “It’s important that they’re not just seen as a critique of a person’s farming style. We say that all entrants have made the move to join us on a journey towards sustainable farming, so as much as they’re putting themselves forward to be part of the awards, we as the assessors are always giving something back to them.”

He says the assessors have been impressed with the depth of experience and the variety of the types of farming that’s been entered.

“It’s the first year of the Lifestyle Category, which has three entries – great for a first time category. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of entrants in the Dairy section, an area we’d been waning in for a couple of years.”

The awards, which are in their sixth year in the Bay of Plenty, support and encourage the use of sustainable farming practices. Sustainability includes profitability, good stock health, protection of waterways by fencing off water sources and preventing stock crossing through water. Other factors taken into account are the management of erosion prone land, shelter for stock from sun and wind, and community or district involvement.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are held in eight regions across New Zealand.

“They are the perfect way to demonstrate to the global consumers of our produce, that we really do encourage sustainable environmental practices,” says Mr Bourke.

The awards are supported by principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients, along with LIC, PPCS, PPG Wrightson, Gallagher and Hill Laboratories. The regional partner and coordinator is Environment Bay of Plenty.

The award ceremony is set for 5 March 2008 at the Te Puke Citizens Club – where the supreme winner will be announced. A field day will then be arranged on that farmer’s property for the public to attend.


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