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The 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards will feature a new category award that rewards energy-efficient farming.

6 August 2012

The 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards will feature a new category award that rewards energy-efficient farming.

This award is sponsored by New Zealand’s largest renewable energy generator, Meridian Energy.

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, which administers the annual competition, has welcomed Meridian to the sponsorship family.

NZFE chairman Jim Cotman says the Trust identified the need for an energy award some time ago.

“Efficient energy use is an important part of sustainable farming, so we are delighted Meridian has stepped up to the plate and sponsored this award.”

The Meridian Energy Excellence Award is designed to drive excellence in utilising on-farm opportunities to generate energy and maximise energy efficiency.

“We’re encouraging our agribusiness customers to be more energy efficient on their farms and in their homes,” says Bill Highet, Meridian’s General Manager Retail (pictured).

“A lot of finalists in the awards are Meridian customers and this is our way of supporting our customers. It also sits well with Meridian’s commitment to creating a better energy future.”

Jim Cotman says Meridian joins a fantastic team of sponsors, headed by naming-rights sponsor Ballance Agri-nutrients.

With a primary focus on promoting profitable and sustainable farming, the Awards programme now covers every aspect of agriculture and horticulture. It includes category awards that recognise sound farm management and business practices, efficient energy, nutrient and water use, excellent crop and animal husbandry, protection or enhancement of special habitats on-farm, and outstanding innovation.

The Awards also acknowledge the lifestyle and people factors associated with modern farming.

Mr Cotman says NZFE works in partnership with sponsors, strategic partners and regional councils to deliver the Awards programme.

He says the regional councils that support the Awards are an essential part of the success of the programme “because they recognise that the promotion of sustainable farming is a win-win situation for their regions”.

“When you add in the support provided by sponsors and strategic partners like Fonterra, Rabobank, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, QEII National Trust and the Ministry for Primary Industries, it becomes obvious that New Zealand’s sustainability focus is well on the front foot.”

Entries for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1, 2012, and Mr Cotman urges farmers to get their entries in.

“A common excuse for not entering is that the farm is not ready, but it’s never going to be ready.

“Other farmers might have only just started on their sustainability quest. While they may feel their farm is not the full package, they might be performing very well in one specific area. That’s why we have such a broad range of category awards.”

Mr Cotman says the Awards programme helps farmers to gain knowledge and benchmark their progress.

Entering the competition is also the perfect opportunity “to show our fellow New Zealanders that we do care about the environment. And most of us are doing a damn good job.”

Entry forms are available from the NZFE website at www.nzfeatrust.org.nz

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, emaildavid.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz.

or visit web www.bfea.org.nz