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Exceptional Leadership Skills Impress Judges

Tuesday, 2nd July 2013

Exceptional Leadership Skills Impress Judges of Top Farm Environment Award

The outstanding communication and leadership skills demonstrated by Canterbury farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie will serve them well in their new role as ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture.

The Mackenzies were declared National Winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards at a Sustainability Showcase hosted by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) in Hamilton on June 22.

They were surprised and delighted to be named winners of the Gordon Stephenson trophy, with Craige telling the audience of almost 400 people that he and Roz were “very, very honoured” to accept the award.

“We look forward to being ambassadors for the coming year.”

The Mackenzies thanked the judging panel, NZFE Trust and the sponsors of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. They also acknowledged their family, business partners and their farming team.

“And we want to thank the other entrants,” said Roz.

“We found it inspiring and motivating to share time with them.”

The Mackenzies, who run an intensive arable operation near Methven, were among nine regional supreme winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards vying for the National Winner title.

Simon Saunders, deputy chair of NZFE Trust and chair of the National Winner judging panel, said the Canterbury farmers were deserved winners of the Gordon Stephenson trophy.

“Craige and Roz are a great team with outstanding communication and leadership skills.”

He said the Mackenzies demonstrated exceptional leadership ability during the judging process, providing reasoned arguments and innovative ways to address many of the challenges facing NZ agriculture.

Members of the judging panel also commented on Craige and Roz’s excellent farming practices and management of resources.

“They are focusing on utilising their resources as efficiently as possible through the use of new technologies and innovation. They also understand the importance of protecting and improving their farm environment through biodiversity, shelter and riparian planting.”

Simon said judges noted the impressive ‘integration synergies’ employed by the Mackenzies between their arable farm and the neighbouring dairy operation, which they own an equity share in.

Judges also commented on the “passion and focus” shown by the other members of Craige and Roz’s farming team.

The judging panel, which included Jacqueline Rowarth, Warwick Catto, Chris Kelly, Paul Lamont and Jamie Strang, faced a huge challenge in picking a National Winner from the outstanding line up of Supreme winners. Simon described all nine regional winners as “pioneers and explorers”.

“These outstanding farmers set goals, long term strategic plans and have in-depth business plans. They understand the strengths and weaknesses, potential risks and opportunities of their business and physical resources. They are continually striving to set best practice and they achieve this by often being at the leading edge of innovation. As they are usually the innovators and early adopters of new best practice, robust science and research is critical. They realise the need to reduce their environmental footprint, and efficiency is becoming a key driver. In essence they are striving to produce more from less.”


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