Farm Environment Award Apt Reward
Farm Environment Award Apt Reward For Sustainability Focus
Winning a major environmental award helped an equity-owned farming operation justify its long-term focus on farm sustainability.
Westview Farm, an 1100 hectare property north of Ashhurst, was the big winner in the 2006 Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, taking out not just the supreme award but also the PPCS Best Livestock Farm Award, the LIC Best Dairy Farm Award and the Horizons Regional Council Award
Managed by Shane Carroll and Nicola Shadbolt, the multi-faceted business combines forestry production with a 16,000 stock unit livestock operation that includes sheep, beef, deer and dairy.
Shane Carroll says the size, scope and diversification of the 20-year-old operation “allows us to make long-term decisions and not just focus on short-term gains and survival”.
Environmental sustainability has been a major priority and considerable resources have been put into tree planting, riparian protection and nutrient and effluent management.
Shane says the long-term view taken by the business partners is a strength of the operation. Even though the other partners are urban professionals, not farmers, they have always strongly supported sustainability.
So winning the supreme award and the plethora of category awards in the 2006 Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a welcome pat on the back for all partners.
Shane is a huge supporter of the awards, which he says are paramount in terms of raising awareness of environmental issues faced by the rural community.
“They must also help in the marketing of our produce to consumers here and overseas because they prove that New Zealand farmers are fostering good environmental practises.”
He says the judging process was thought-provoking and enjoyable, and the regional awards function and the National Showcase event for all the supreme winners around the country provided ideal opportunities to mix with enthusiastic and like-minded people and discuss new ideas.
“I’d encourage any farmer to enter the awards. Even if you don’t win, you still get to interact with the judges and pick up a tonne of information.”
Entries for the 2008 Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on December 21, 2007.
Westview Farm remains committed to sustainability. The partnership is also involved with another equity partnership on a dairy farm near Ashhurst, where Shane says considerable effort has gone into developing systems to effectively manage effluent and improve water quality.
He says the higher payout appears to have placed the spotlight firmly on dairy farmers.
“The environmental issues are the same whether the payout is $2 or $7/kgMS. But dairy farmers seem to be under more pressure than ever at the moment and it’s important that non-farming people see that farmers are dedicated to environmental sustainability.”
For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards or an entry form, contact the Horizons Regional Council or BFEA coordinator Margaret Matthews, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (06) 342 7783.
Along with principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients, the awards are supported by PGG Wrightson, PPCS, LIC, Gallagher, Hill Laboratories and the Horizons Regional Council.