Win Shows Farmers Working Hard For Environment
Otago dairy farmer Philip Wilson and his family had a point to prove when they entered this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
“Dairy farmers get a lot of bad press when it comes to environmental issues, so we wanted to do something positive for the industry,” he says.
“The silent majority of dairy farmers are doing their best to be good farmers, and we saw this competition as a good way to show the wider public that we do care about the environment.”
Philip, his wife Heather, son Geoffrey and their sharemilker David Bain won the LIC Dairy Farm Award for their management of a small but high producing dairy unit on the Taieri Plains.
Judges were impressed with the production achieved by a low-stocked well-bred herd and a mating policy that results in a 96% in-calf rate. The Wilsons and their sharemilker also drew praise for their good stock health, careful nutrient management and excellent effluent disposal system.
Philip says the win was welcome recognition for their efforts and those of their sharemilker.
He says the judging process was a real highlight. “It wasn’t daunting in any way. You have to do your homework first, of course, but the judges were friendly and their questions were very fair. They also provided good feedback that highlighted some things we could do to further strengthen our business.”
Philip would certainly encourage other farmers to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
“This competition is getting more and more recognition each year and I think it is important that dairy farmers support it,” he says.
“I’m associated with three dairy farms and I’d certainly consider entering again because it is a very positive thing for farmers and their staff.”
Entries for the 2009 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on October 1, 2008.