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Reeves Farms Take Out The Regional Supreme Award At The Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Leadership and community-based action sees Alastair and Ann Reeves of Reeves Farms take out the Regional Supreme Award at the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

27 March Alastair and Ann Reeves of Reeves Farms in Te Akau have been named the Regional Supreme Winners at the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Karapiro this evening.

Alastair and Ann have developed a highly resilient farming business that is profitable while enhancing the surrounding environment. Reeves Farms has been in the family for more than 90 years, with Alastair and Ann being the fourth generation to farm it. The business produces mainly lamb and beef, as well as providing sheep genetics to the wider industry.

Across the 605ha (550ha effective) property, they run 1,700 prime lambs, 400 two-year bulls and 400 rams for breeding. The judges were impressed with the Reeves’ deep understanding of land and animal classes, with farming practices and stocking policies tailored to suit. They noted that the Reeves’ take livestock performance monitoring to another level.

Alastair and Ann have a good understanding of the property’s strengths, ensuring they plant the right tree in the right place. The result is a mix of native and exotic trees including pines and poplars, with significant planting at the main catchment’s headwaters. Riparian corridors have been extensively fenced and planted, while predators are actively managed.

They collaborate with the wider community to control possums across a total of 155,000ha – a reflection of their strong connection to those around them. Ann and Alastair actively work alongside others in the sheep and beef industry, empowering their peers through the sharing of knowledge. This includes helping to set up and chair the West Waikato Coastal Community Catchment Group.

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Ann and Alastair’s farming business is successfully providing an income for their family’s needs, as well as improving the farm for future generations. They have shown leadership in response to climate change initiatives, and are prepared to take risks and learns from success and failures.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges identified outstanding leadership within the community and sector, improved biodiversity and excellent guardianship as key points in the Reeves’ success. They also noted that Alistair and Ann stand by the mantra that every day could be an open day for clients – and ensure the property is presented as such.

Alastair and Ann also won the following awards:

  • Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
  • NZFET Biodiversity Award
  • NZFET Climate Recognition Award

Other Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

Colin & Dale Armer, Scott Armer and David Briscoe — Armer Farms, Waihora Station

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
  • Hill Labs Agri-Science Award
  • Norwood Farming Efficiency Award
  • Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award

Brad Hancock — Hancock Farms, Paterangi

  • DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
  • NZFET Innovation Award

Damien Watson, Chris Tidey and Robin Gerding — Renown Pamu, Wairakei Pastoral

  • Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award
  • Waikato River Authority Catchment Improvement Award

The awards also served to showcase local catchment group King Country River Care, which was set up by King Country farmers in 2018 and has expanded to now include around 300 local farmers. The group takes a long-term view to caring for its environment, people and communities, with a game plan that extends out to 2030 based on a philosophy of working and educating from the bottom up to get positive engagement.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust and champion sustainable farming and growing. The Supreme Winner from each of the eleven regions involved in the awards will go through to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Trust’s National Showcase in Hamilton in June. The recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy then become 2024’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

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