Farm Environment Awards
Entries For Farm Environment Awards Start To Open Across Country
Regional entries for the prestigious Ballance Farm Environment Awards are starting to get underway.
Entries for the Canterbury, Waikato and Northland regions open on September 1st and other regions will follow shortly.
With the popularity of the awards continuing to grow, David Natzke, General Manager of The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, is urging farmers to “give it a go”.
“The whole aim of the awards is to make role models of those farmers who are using farm management practices that are both economically and environmentally sustainable,” he says.
“These awards champion the work farmers are doing and lead the way in helping other farmers to make decisions based on good information.”
Mr Natzke believes the examples set by previous winners have helped sustainable farming practices gain acceptance in an era when farmers are under considerable pressure to improve environmental management.
He says past regional winners have described their participation in the awards as a highly rewarding experience. “The fact that their farm has won a supreme or merit award is empowering because it confirms that they are on the right track as far as good environmental and business management goes.”
And large attendances at regional Supreme Winner field days this year show that farmer interest in the awards is running strong.
“This thing has taken on a life of its own. It started off as a small event in one region 16 years ago and has grown to the extent where it covers just about the whole country.”
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards currently operate in eight regions - Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Northland and the lower North Island region covered by the Horizons Regional Council.
“There are only a few areas that are not participating,” says Mr Natzke, “and our aim is to bring them on board so that it is a truly national event.”
He says the success of the Farm Environment Awards is due to dedicated sponsors, a big team of enthusiastic volunteers and the strong support provided by local bodies.
Along with Ballance Agri-Nutrients, other sponsors include PPCS, Livestock Improvement Corporation, Gallagher Group, Hill Laboratories and PGG Wrightson.
The awards are also backed by Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Otago Regional Council and the Northland Regional Council.
Entries for the Wellington and Bay of Plenty regions open on September 25 and Southland, Otago and Horizons start on November 1.
Supreme winners from each region will be honoured at a National Showcase event next year.
Farmers looking for more information on the awards can contact their regional council or go to the www.ballance.co.nz website.