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Environmental Awards Growing In Relevance

3 October 2006

Environmental Awards Growing In Relevance

The increasing popularity of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards proves that farmers are strongly committed to improving environmental sustainability, says national judging coordinator Ted Coats.

“Farmers are becoming aware of the environmental impact of agricultural intensification, and the awards mean they don’t have to look far to find examples of how to manage this impact.”

The Waikato dairy farmer says the awards are becoming increasingly relevant in an era when farmers are under considerable pressure to reduce the environmental effects of farming.

“Farmers know that they have to seek solutions to the environmental problems that have arisen as a result of intensification, but they want to make these changes on a voluntary basis rather than having legislative recipes forced upon them,” he says.

“That’s not to say intensification is going to stop. Instead it’s about finding ways to improve farm production and profitability without causing collateral damage to the environment.”

Mr Coats says the Ballance Farm Environment Awards celebrate those people who are using best practice to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

A long term supporter of the awards, Mr Coats and his wife Cath won the Supreme Award for the Waikato region in 1998.

He says pride is a motivating factor for most people who enter the awards, and he urges farmers to consider entering this year’s competition.

“Raising skill level is another crucial objective for most entrants and they find that the judging process gives them access to a considerable amount of information.

“We have an outstanding team of judges around the country and the whole process is conducted with an enormous amount of goodwill.”

The awards operate in eight regions and entries for the Canterbury, Waikato, Northland, Wellington and Bay of Plenty regions are now open. Southland, Otago and Horizons start on November 1.

Key sponsors include Ballance Agri-Nutrients, 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.

Mr Coats says farmers seeking more information on how to enter the awards can contact the sponsors or regional councils listed above, or go to the website.


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