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Beef And Dairy Grazing Farmers Take Top Regional Spot At Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards

A passion for farming has led to Anna & Ben Gillespie being named Regional Supreme Winners at the Otago 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.

Taking a strategic approach that plays to their strengths has paid off for this Omakau couple as they diversify and grow their beef and dairy grazing business. Highly conscious of the farm’s environmental impact, they’re anticipating future regulatory changes by taking action now.

Over the past two years, Anna and Ben have diversified into beef finishing to complement the original dairy grazing business on the 360ha effective farm. Their team approach plays to their individual strengths and the result is a highly productive business that looks to the future, while still achieving a work-life balance with family at its core.

The judges commended how their hard work is preventing negative environmental impacts.

“Their farming operation includes numerous buffer zones, precision irrigation and a 'right pasture, right time, right place' philosophy,” they said.

Environmental improvements include the establishment of two new wetlands and an on-site nursery to grow native plants for riparian planting.

“This is an extremely well-run farm, with healthy pastures and a high level of animal care, resulting in excellent animal health and production. Celebrating their farm as the heart of family life, they share their passion for farming with their children and take pride in returns on investment such as great crops and healthy stock.”

The judges also commended their business planning and high level of community involvement.

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

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
  • WaterForceWise with WaterAward

Each year, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards offer unique, pan-sector opportunities for the sharing of ideas and information among grower peers, agribusiness professionals and the wider community.

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