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East Coast Award Winners 2020

East Coast Award Winners 2020

5 March 2020

Central Hawke's Bay sheep, beef and deer farmers Evan and Linda Potter have won the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards champion sustainable farming and growing through an awards programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. These Regional Supreme Winners will be profiled at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Wellington on Thursday 4 June, with each in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

Balancing business security with protecting the land and resources for future generations was one of the reasons behind the Potters’ win, the judges said.

“Evan and Linda epitomise the value of long-term vision, sound management practice, strong work ethic and a genuine passion for the protection of the environment. When asked where people should start, Evan responds, ‘does it matter? Just start somewhere.’

“A ‘do it once, do it right’ attitude can seem expensive at the onset but now the benefits of future proofing are paying off. Building bridges, fencing and water investment has given them first-class access to this environmentally challenging farm.”

With a dedicated focus on biodiversity and trees, there is impressive regeneration happening within 125ha of QEII National Trust covenants. There are 20ha of pine trees, an annual pole planting programme that helps with shade and erosion control, plus the Potters undertake regular native, wetland and riparian planting.

Socially, the Potters have great involvement with community, school, sport and industry. They say Waipapa is an awesome environment to live, work and raise a family in, and they “appreciate the opportunity to be kaitiaki of their land.

“I don’t know if I’d call myself green - maybe light green,” Evan told the judges.

Before being named the Supreme Winners, which is judged under its own criteria, the Potters won three category awards:

  • East Coast Farming for Future Award, sponsored by the Hawke's Bay Regional and Gisborne District councils
  • Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
  • Synlait Climate Stewardship Award.

Read the full media release.         

Other East Coast Award Winners 2020

Dan and Billie Herries, Taramoa

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
  • Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
  • Massey University Innovation Award.

The Herries manage a 564ha farm, Taramoa, for owners Andrew Herries and Wayne and Nicky Breeze. Taramoa has more than 100ha of land retired from grazing, which ranges from 400-year-old red beech forest to regenerating podocarp, manuka and wetland species.

Extensive riparian fencing and planting has been carried out on the farm, with the Herries eco-sourcing and propagating seed where possible. Native bats, kiwi and kaka can be found on the property.

The awards judges said the Herries were constantly seeking information and learning, while sharing their own extensive biodiversity knowledge.

“They make the most of their natural location and resources, particularly regeneration. It is impressive how far Dan and Billie have made it in the short amount of time they have been farming.”

Michael & Mandy and Richard & Jenny Loffler, Loffler Partnership

  • Norwood Agri-Business Management Award
  • WaterForce Wise with Water Award

Mike and Mandy Loffler have leased their 320ha sheep, beef, kiwifruit and citrus property at Whangara from the Loffler Family Trust for the past seven years. Mike is the fourth generation on the family farm at Whangara, after taking over from his parents Richard and Jenny.

The sheep and beef breeding and finishing operation sees all progeny sold prime. There also is a 3.6ha gold kiwifruit orchard with 1.4ha under development, plus 1ha of lemons and 3ha of oranges.

Native bush blocks are cared for, native shelter belts planted and poplar and willow poles used for erosion control. Extensive work has been done on the farm’s main waterway to stop erosion and reduce sediment loss.

Ryan Sanderson and Malinda Wynyard, Hollow Point Pastures

  • DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award

Contract milkers Ryan Sanderson and Malinda Wynyard run a 325ha dairy farm at Matawai for owners Mark Anderson and Kathleen Wynyard, Katmar Ltd.

Known locally as Homebrook, the farm milks 700 cows on a 300ha milking platform. In the 2018/19 season, 650 cows produced 242,000 kilograms of milk solids (806kg per hectare).

Ryan and Malinda are planting trees, fencing wetlands and drains, and creating silt and excess nutrient filters to help the water ways and provide habitat for wildlife such as weka and native ducks. Great care is taken to provide their animals with top quality feed, both grown on farm and waste fruit and vegetables brought in from local packhouses.

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