The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have gained another heavyweight supporter, with Massey University joining the sponsorship family. In announcing the move, New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust chairman Jim Cotman says he is delighted to welcome the well-respected organisation to the national sponsorship team.
“Massey University is recognised as a leader in agricultural education and this partnership with the Ballance Farm Environment Awards truly demonstrates the University’s commitment to sustainable farming.”
Director of Massey Agriculture Professor Jacqueline Rowarth says that Massey’s involvement has positives on all sides. “Support for these awards at Massey is multi-disciplinary. Agri-food production must be sustainable, and that has elements of social science and education, as well as the more traditional food and farm management elements, based on soils, plants and animals. The farmers in the awards show that farm and environment can be managed sustainably – this is what we research, and what we teach to students and in extension events. Now we are working with those who put it into practise, hearing their problems, working together on solutions, and involving the students in the process. It is a win-win for the partners – and for the country.”
Jim Cotman says the NZFEA Trust will now be able to draw on the unique benefits that a tertiary education provider like Massey can bring to the partnership in terms of agricultural research and education.
He says the involvement of Massey University in each of the eight regions participating in the awards will help highlight the effectiveness and credibility of the practical solutions farmers are using to tackle sustainability issues.
“It also provides opportunities for farmer input into some of the work being performed by Massey.”
Details of Massey’s specific involvement in the programme will be announced shortly, but Mr Cotman says the University will sponsor an award category that focuses on the application of research on-farm.