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Ten Farming Ambassadors Hailed In Environment Awards

Ten Farming Ambassadors Hailed In 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have finished another successful year, with Supreme winners from 10 regions recognised for their outstanding contribution to agricultural sustainability.

David Natzke, General Manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, says the 2014 competition drew a “wonderful group of entrants” and the high standard made it a real challenge for judges to pick out the final Supreme winners.

“Attendance at all the regional award ceremonies was well up on previous years. This reflects a great recognition of the awards and how well they are managed and promoted in the regions.”

Taranaki was welcomed into the competition for 2014 and the announcement of the first Taranaki Supreme winner was another highlight, says Mr Natzke.

“We also had former category award winners coming back into the competition and taking out the Supreme award. That’s a real positive for the awards programme because it shows that farmers who enter the competition learn a lot from the experience and it motivates them to continue to improve the sustainability of their operations.”

Supreme winners of the 2014 awards will be honoured at a National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26. They include Okaihau dairy farmers Roger and Jane Hutchings, who were Supreme winners of the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Katikati farmers Rick Burke and Jan Loney won the Supreme title for the Bay of Plenty region and Tihoi beef farmers Mike and Sharon Barton were Waikato Supreme winners.

Supreme award for the East Coast went to Muriwai farmers Rob and Sandra Faulkner and Bruce and Jo Graham, and the inaugural Taranaki title went to Gavin and Oliver Faull, Faull Farms Limited, and their sharemilkers, Tony and Loie Penwarden, Trewithen Partnership, Tikorangi.

Rangitikei farmers Justin and Mary Vennell were Supreme winners of the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, with Kaituna sheep and beef farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth taking out the Greater Wellington title.

Ealing dairy farmers Mark and Devon Slee were Supreme winners for Canterbury, and Wayne McIntosh, manager of Earnscleugh-based McIntosh Orchard Ltd, earned the Otago title.

The Supreme award in Southland went to Kaiwera farmers Andrew and Heather Tripp, Nithdale Station, who had previously won the same award in 2002.

Mr Natzke says 2014 entrants had come through a challenging year, with the 2013 drought affecting most of the country and severe storms battering the Canterbury region.

Farmers are sometimes reluctant to enter the competition if their farms don’t look picture perfect, he says, but the judges look past climatic events and their impacts.

“So farmers who are considering entering the 2015 competition should give it a go - even if they feel their farm is not ready - because it’s a great way of finding out how well they are doing.”

Entries for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1, 2014.

The awards celebrate those people who use best practises to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

Ends

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