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Supreme winners open their gates

Supreme winners open their gates

Environmental farm award winners for the Horizons Region opened their gates and shared their secrets with other farmers last week.

William Akers, Laura Oughton, Hugh and Judy Akers from Broadlands Station in Ashhurst were announced as the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards supreme winners in March. As part of winning the award, recipients are asked to host other farmers on farm in order to share ideas and inspire others.

Horizons Regional Council environmental manager for land Grant Cooper was on the judging panel for the final round and says Broadlands is a straightforward, efficiently run station.

“Broadlands are doing a lot of things really well. In particular their management of river erosion and flooding is commendable as the Pohangina River runs through their land,” he says.

“The 1,650 hectare farm includes a wide variety of flat, rolling and hill country land. By hosting a field day, other farmers get to witness good environmental practices and realise it’s a journey to get there but not out of reach.

“Chances are farmers will also see things at Broadlands that they’re doing on their own farm, or at the very least, things they could be doing without too much effort,” he says.

As sponsors of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Horizons provided judges for the preliminary and final round, and guest speakers for the field day on river management, possum control and the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI). While Broadlands do not belong to the SLUI programme currently, they are in the process of getting on board this year.

“Broadlands includes a number of features that would align well with the values of SLUI,” says Mr Cooper.

“These include the retirement of steep slopes, protection of a valuable bush remnant and wetland on the property, and an overall conservative management approach to ensure the farm will still be in a good condition in 100 years time.”

Approximately 100 people turned up for the event, which included a tour of the farm and stops at key locations to discuss river management, stock, pest control, pasture and cropping.

Broadlands will now go on to compete in the national showcase event in June. For more information about the awards, please visit www.bfea.org.nz

ENDS

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