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Calling New Zealand farmers and growers: your stories matter

Joanne van Polanen, Chair of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, says that ”Now more than ever, it is important that farmers and growers share their positive stories with others.”

In less than one month, entries will close for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (“BFEA”) and farmers and growers are encouraged to get involved to help highlight how hard the industry is working to employ sustainable farming and growing practices.

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, which manages the BFEA, encourages and welcomes farmers and growers at every stage of their sustainability journey to enter before the end of October.

The BFEA, run in 11 regions throughout the country, promote sustainable farming and growing. Through the programme, farmers and growers have the opportunity to showcase, benchmark, and improve their operation through a constructive process where fellow farmers and growers and agribusiness professionals provide feedback, recommendations, and commendations.

The judges take a holistic approach to the feedback by evaluating every aspect of the farming/growing business from environmental management, productivity, and profitability through to family and community involvement.

Provided they give their consent, farmers and growers can be nominated to enter the awards by others as part of a new initiative by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen says, “We are excited for what the 2020 programme will bring and are looking forward to seeing farmers and growers at every stage of their journey.

“Former entrants have commented that they questioned whether or not they were ‘ready’ to enter but that their confidence grew significantly as they moved through the programme. They could see that the prospect of receiving an award is a bonus, and not the be-all-and-end-all because there is so much more to gain from the experience.

“Time and time again we have heard how much entrants valued the experience - the enriching knowledge from the judges, the opportunity to meet and share ideas with peers, and to have the opportunity to share positive rural stories with wider New Zealand.”

The 2019 National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, Adrian and Pauline Ball say: “If you are thinking of entering...go for it. The friends and judging feedback make the whole journey worthwhile with a fantastic team of sponsors supporting the awards. It’s a good chance to showcase positive farming and there is a learning journey.”

To enter visit Entries are open until 31 October 2019. Comprehensive information about the process can also be found on the website.

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