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Tree Gift From Farm Environment Sponsors

Tree Gift From Farm Environment Sponsors

The devastating floods which impacted on the lower half of the North Island in recent weeks have resulted in the cancellation of the final round of judging of the inaugural Manawatu/Wanganui Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The 26 entries for the awards had undergone preliminary judging when the floods struck, but with many of the properties underwater, and following the advice of entrants, the judges decided not to complete finals judging.

However, the event’s sponsors are very keen to recognise the excellent work which has occurred in the region in the area of sustainable farm management and to acknowledge the time and effort farmers had gone to, to take part in the awards, says Bill Garland, chairman of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards National management committee.

“These people have been through some terrible times and for many, their farms have been badly damaged, destroying the work they have put into good environmental practices on their properties.

“So while the awards will not go ahead as planned this year, the sponsors have decided to contribute the sponsorship money they would have put towards prizes for the winning award entries to the purchase of native trees which will be distributed to all the entrants.”

Ballance Agri-nutrients’ marketing development manager Peter Mourits, speaking on behalf of the event’s sponsors, says the decision to go with the native trees was symbolic of their commitment to helping the farmers rebuild their lives and businesses.

“We wanted to make a gesture that was appropriate for the farm environment awards as well as practical and helpful to the farmers,” Mr Mourits says.

While there will be no supreme award winner in the Manawatu/Wanganui Ballance Farm Environment Awards for 2004, Mr Garland says the way in which the farming community got involved in the spirit of the programme indicates it will have a sound future.

“Those who did enter this year will not only have benefited from the experience, they also have a useful feedback report from the judges highlighting the areas where they have performed well and areas where there is room for improvement,” Mr Garland says.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards programmes are taking place this year in Waikato, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

Manawatu/Wanganui regional co-ordinator Sandy McDougall says it is disappointing that after such an enthusiastic start the awards will not take place this year, particularly when many of the entrants were such worthy role models for the awards’ philosophies.

“However, I am sure they will appreciate the trees and the goodwill of the sponsors and in true kiwi farming spirit, role their sleeves up and get on with job. I hope they all take part again next year,” Ms McDougall says. Principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients is joined in supporting the Farm Environment Awards by ANZ, Wrightsons, PPCS, Richmonds, Livestock Improvement Corporation and Gallagher Group.

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