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Biodiversity Leaders Announced Regional Supreme Winners Of Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Mark and Felicity Brough have been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winners in the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

The awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date.

Native birds havereturned,and water quality has improved, since the Broughs took over Paerua about 20 years ago–reflecting their respect of land,animals, soil and water. The Waitomo sheep and beef, breeding and store fattening farm runs about 170 weaner bulls and steer calves, and 2,150 sheep.

Native birds, fish and invertebrates are flourishing on the property, thanks to extensive planting around streams and ponds, and significant fencing of wetlands and drains. Two large dams with wetland areas have been created and the couple is planning to fence off significant blocks of mature native bush. Poplar poles control erosion, almost all paddocks have water troughs, and beehives encourage clover growth.

The judges said Paerua is an excellent example of farming within the capabilities of the land and that the Broughs are role-models both in terms of their farming systems and their commitment to biodiversity.

“With a complementary and synergistic partnership, Mark and Felicity have achieved consistently across all categories. They have a great practical, sensible and long- term approach to everyday farming,” the judges said.

“At a national level, they provide practical guidance on water quality and biodiversity improvement. This will have far-reaching benefits for New Zealand farmers.

“They are involved in off-farm initiatives locally and nationally, with a highly commendable knowledge of central and local government policies.”

Mark and Felicity entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to demonstrate that sustainable farming is achievable, and how enjoyable the end-product is. Watch their video on YouTube.

As well as receiving this year’s Supreme Regional Award, they also received the:

  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
  • Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award

Each year, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards’ ceremonies, the National Sustainability Showcase and winners' field days offer unique, pan-sector forums for the sharing of ideas and information among farming and grower peers, agribusiness professionals and the wider community.

Other 2020 Waikato Award Winners.

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