8 September 2014
Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Trevor Hamilton entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he had a point to prove.
Trevor and his wife Harriet run a large-scale family business that spans ten farms – five in Canterbury, four in Bay of Plenty and one in Hawke’s Bay. The operation is on track to produce three million kilograms of Milksolids this season, with four million targeted for 2015/16.
Starting from scratch as a sharemilker in 1980, Trevor says his aim is to create an intergenerational dairy farming business. But he is acutely aware that the scale of the operation opens it up to claims that its growth has come at the expense of the environment.
Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave him the opportunity to prove this wasn’t the case.
“I wanted to show people that a large scale dairy business can be both sustainable and profitable.”
Trevor and Harriet entered their Bay of Plenty property ‘Rere Lake Farm’ into the 2014 BoP Ballance Farm Awards. Situated near Lake Rerewhakaaitu, Rere Lake Farm milks 585 cows on a milking platform of 146ha, producing 262,000kgMS last season.
Along with other landowners and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Trevor is involved in Project Rerewhakaaitu, a voluntary scheme that aims to preserve the lake for future generations.
“There are 33 dairy farmers living around the lake and it is the second cleanest lake in the Rotorua region,” Trevor says.
He is a big believer in the adage “you have to be profitable to deal to the environment”.
He says the key to his operation’s success is the ability to turn grass into milk. “Growing and harvesting grass is our competitive edge.”
Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges awarded Rere Lake Farm three category awards, including the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award. This award recognises excellent crop, pasture and soil management, and takes into consideration the effects the farming system has on the land resource now and in the long term.
BFEA judges said the discipline that goes into the maintenance of excellent pasture quality on Rere Lake Farm is impressive.
Trevor is a natural leader, judges noted, who “wants to set the bar on the adoption of practical mitigations for nutrient loss management that fit well within a profitable farming system.”
Trevor says the BFEA judging process was excellent and he enjoyed being involved with the Awards.
“I think they have an important role to play in showing the wider community that most dairy farmers are not out there to have cows standing in the river or effluent pouring down the creek.
“While we want our businesses to be financially successful, we know that we’ve got a responsibility to mitigate the environmental effects as much as possible.”
Entries for the 2015 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on October 24, 2014. Entering the competition is easy and entry forms are available online at www.bfea.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, email@example.com.