1 August 2014
Entries for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1, 2014.
A major event on the farming calendar, the annual contest promotes sustainable land management and is facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust.
NZFE acting chairman Simon Saunders says the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards drew an excellent standard of entries and he is expecting strong interest in the 2015 competition.
He encourages farmers and horticulturists to put themselves forward for the awards or to nominate others that might benefit from being involved.
The competition is now operating in ten regions throughout the country and past-entrants have described their participation as a highly worthwhile experience.
“Most people enter because they want feedback on how their farming or horticultural operation stacks up in terms of environmental sustainability. Entrants also seek ideas from competition judges and other participants on how to improve the sustainability of their businesses.”
Mr Saunders says the awards prove that sound environmental practises and good business management go hand in hand. Farmers who participate in the competition are also encouraged to share ideas and innovations with the wider farming community.
“You don’t have to have the best looking farm in the district to enter. Regional competitions offer a host of category awards, and you only have to be performing well in one area to have a chance of picking up an award.”
Entering the competition is as easy as filling out a simply entry form, available online atwww.bfea.org.nz
The judging process is conducted in a relaxed and friendly manner, and judges always take climatic factors into account.
“In the past we’ve found that farmers can be reluctant to enter if their farm has been affected by drought. But the judges know that severe climatic events are all part of farming and they will look beyond this at the wider picture.”
The ten regional Supreme-award winners from around the country will be honoured at a National Sustainability Showcase next year. A National Winner will be announced at this event and they will receive the prestigious Gordon Stephenson Trophy, named after the founder of the awards. This year’s winners were Mark and Devon Slee of Canterbury.
For more information on the awards, including regional closing dates, visit the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust website or www.bfea.org.nz