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 (BFEA).
Run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust, the BFEA 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 in March 2021, 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: