Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Strong line-up of judges for farm environment awards

Judges Begin Search For National Winner Of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust has assembled a strong line-up of judges to decide the next recipients of the esteemed Gordon Stephenson trophy.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner Judging Panel will select the next trophy holders from the eleven Supreme winners in the 2016 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The recipients will be announced at New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s National Sustainability Showcase in Northland on June 22, becoming ambassadors for the primary industry in a role that will take them around the country and beyond as they promote the importance of sustainable farming.

This year’s National Winner Judging Panel is chaired by Ashburton dairy farmer Joanne van Polanen. Joanne has a long involvement with the BFEA, starting as a judging coordinator for the Canterbury region. She was appointed treasurer of NZFE Trust in 2010 and is currently deputy chairperson.

She says the judging panel has a tough job because the Supreme winners have already demonstrated exceptional farming skills and an outstanding commitment to sustainability.

“Choosing the next recipient of the Gordon Stephenson trophy is definitely a challenging task for the judges, but listening to entrants tell their inspirational stories also makes it an exciting and very enjoyable experience.”

The 2016 National Winner Judging Panel has a good balance of experience and new blood. Warwick Catto, Science Strategy Manager, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Jamie Strang, NZFE Trust National Award Manager, and Charmaine O’Shea, an accountant, dairy farmer and Dairy Woman of the Year for 2014, are joined by new faces Stephen Hall and George Murdoch.

Stephen is Director of Operations for the Taranaki Regional Council and George is Rabobank Regional Manager for the East Coast.

Joanne says Stephen and George “came highly recommended” and their skills and experience will prove valuable during the second stage of judging.

Entrants are first visited on-farm by two judges – Jamie Strang and Warwick Catto - and the sustainability of their farming operation is assessed by focusing on the management of the physical farm environment, production and profitability. Judges also examine the entrant’s relationships and involvement with staff and the community.

Joanne says entrants are asked for their thoughts on the future direction of New Zealand agriculture and how their farming business many contribute to this.

“Jamie and Warwick love getting out and meeting the Supreme winners on their own farms and orchards. It’s a crucial part of the judging process.”

The second stage involves a 30-minute interview in front of the National Winner Judging Panel prior to the National Sustainability Showcase. Entrants will be asked to comment on New Zealand agriculture and its position in the international marketplace. They also outline their values and strategies relating to their farm, leadership, urban and rural relationships and future threats and opportunities for NZ agriculture.

Joanne says the presentation of the Gordon Stephenson trophy will have special poignancy this year. Gordon passed away at the end of 2015.

“The National Winner title was established to honour Gordon’s contribution to the success of the Awards programme. It was his wish that the recipient be held up as an ambassador for sustainable farming rather than being lauded as the best of the best. So the entire judging process has been respectfully formatted to achieve this.”

Last year’s Gordon Stephenson trophy winners were Bay of Plenty sheep and beef farmers John and Catherine Ford.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>