4 September 2020
As we approach our elections for the NZ Farm Environment Trust Board, we caught up with outgoing Board member Andrea Hanna who is stepping down after eight years.
Attitudes toward sustainable farming practices have changed dramatically since Andrea first got involved with the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) 21 years ago, she says.
“The effect of your business on such things as soil and water quality wasn’t fully considered by the majority of farmers and growers back then. However, these things are now seen as vital and have become common practice – and I believe the BFEA has contributed to this shift in attitude.”
The Trust’s election is for three Board representatives, with the results being announced on 12 October. The candidates are Mark Brough, Jon Lee, Phill Muir, Mike Scarsbrook and Kate Taylor.
As a Trustee, Andrea has made a significant contribution and we’re delighted she will continue to support the Trust through her involvement with the BFEA national judging programme and Waikato regional committee.
Andrea got involved in the BFEA committee after she and husband Brian were named Waikato Regional Supreme Winners in 1999, and she then went on to become a judge and national judging coordinator.
Taking part in the programme reinforced that their approach to farming, which balanced financial and conservation outcomes, was heading in the right direction.
“Back in 1999, attitudes toward conservation were different – it wasn’t seen as central to farming.
“The awards programme is now running across the country and the good work of farmers is being regularly profiled, meaning more people are hearing about how to enhance the environment while adding value to their farming business. Farmers are learning from other farmers, rather than just being legislated into making change. A balanced approach has become common practice which is excellent.”
There are plenty of other benefits for those who become involved in the BFEA, such as learning about funding opportunities and moving into leadership roles, Andrea says.
“Once you’ve been through the programme, you can give back by encouraging farmers and growers to get involved at any stage of their journey. Once they take the first step and sign up to participate, they’re on the way to receiving free feedback and will be connected to helpful networks and guidance along the way.
“A lot of farmers who have participated in the BFEA are now standing up and have become leaders in their wider communities.”