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Top Farmers Lead By Example

June 28 2006

Top Farmers Lead By Example

The 2006 Ballance Farm Environment Award regional supreme award winners from around New Zealand meet in Rotorua on Friday (June 30) to share their learnings and experiences about good farming practice.

This is the third National Sustainability Showcase, bringing together the eight regional Ballance Farm Environment Award Supreme Award winners to put their achievements under the spotlight so other people can learn from them.

Unlike other awards programmes which have a series of regional events and then bring together the country’s top performers, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) made a conscious decision not to single out any one operator.

“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are not about winning,” says New Zealand Farm Environment Award Chairman Peter Nation. “They are about sharing ideas and skills that other farmers can adapt.”

Leading up to the showcase, the farmers will have an opportunity to discuss the sustainability issues all rural New Zealand currently faces.

“They will have the opportunity to identify management practices they currently undertake to mitigate the adverse effects of their farming practices,” Mr Nation says.

The participants will also look at how to educate the public about sustainability issues and how they affect everyone.

“The public might not recognise the importance of farmers adapting such good practices as direct drilling to protect fragile soil environment if we don’t tell them. Alternatively they might think the use of any fertiliser on farmland is a threat to the environment and not recognise the essential link to productivity.”

Mr Nation says some common themes have come through in this year’s supreme award winners.

“In the top farmers we have seen a sense of pride, satisfaction, confidence and motivation to improve the place they live and work in. they see themselves as part of the community and have long-term conservation values.”

But it’s not all “give” he says.

“As part of the sustainability package, financial success is recognised as integral to their business and absolutely linked to sustainability. As they strive for financial success as part of their business ethics, continual improvement, both financial and environmental, is achieved.

“We see these people backing themselves by planning the way forward. This is often aligned to planning for the next generation. Those who best understand their business strengths and weaknesses then go on to make good management choices.”

The 2006 Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award winners are:

Northland: Ned and Amber and Alec and Kelly Jack from Pakaraka
Waikato: Moerangi Station owned by Maori Trust, the Puketapu 3A Incorporation managed by Barry and Celia Pope
Bay of Plenty: John and Jean, and Tim and Jo Mackintosh from Whakatane
Horizons: Shane Carroll and Nicola Shadbolt , Westview Farm Partnership
Greater Wellington: Clive Paton, his wife Phyll Paton and sister Ali Paton, Ata Rangi vineyard, Martinborough
Canterbury: David Jones from Strathcro Farm, Rotherham
Otago: John and Sue Aspinall, Mount Aspiring Station
Southland: Graeme and Dorothy Dodd from Papatotara

Principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients is joined in supporting the Farm Environment Awards by Rabobank, PPCS, PGG Wrightson, Livestock Improvement Corporation, Gallagher Group and Hill Laboratories. The awards are also supported by Environment Waikato, the Northland Regional Council, Environment BOP, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Otago Regional Council and Environment Canterbury.


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