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Irrigators Win Supreme Award for Sustainability

Media Statement
June 27 – for immediate release

Irrigation New Zealand Congratulates Irrigators Mark And Devon Slee on Winning Supreme Award for Sustainability

Irrigation New Zealand (INZ) congratulates dairy farmers Mark and Devon Slee on winning the Supreme Award in the 2014 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

Sustainable irrigation practice and investment in technology have played a major part in Mark and Devon’s success. “The couple are personally committed to reducing their environmental footprint and this is an example of the responsible farming practices which go on all around the country but are never heard about,” says Andrew Curtis, Irrigation New Zealand CEO. “This is a ‘good news story’ and shows the significant efforts farmers are making to mitigate their impact on the environment.”

As large-scale dairy farmers, The Slees are using smart irrigation systems to monitor soil moisture and assess water need which means that intensification of land has been possible without increasing their water take. “Purely due to efficient application of water using spray irrigation and smart technology the Slees have achieved highly targeted irrigation benefitting not only the farm, but protecting the environment.”

The BFEA judges said the Slees are top industry performers who have “demonstrated the ability to run a highly profitable dairy business while ensuring excellent environmental management”.

INZ is committed to finding a way for New Zealand to develop irrigation schemes within acceptable environmental limits. “Irrigation in New Zealand needs to progress to protect the country from climatic variations and to enhance the country’s ability to feed its population and to contribute to feeding the world,” says Mr Curtis.

ENDS

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