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New Zealand's Top Environment Trophy Goes to Innovative Farming Couple

23 June 2013

New Zealand's Top Environment Trophy Goes to Innovative Farming Couple

Canterbury farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie are the National Winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Mackenzies, who run an intensive arable operation near Methven, received the prestigious Gordon Stephenson trophy in front of 400 guests at the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on June 22.

They were chosen from the nine regional Supreme winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Named after the Waikato farmer who started the Farm Environment Awards, the Gordon Stephenson Trophy is presented annually at the Sustainability Showcase – an event that celebrates the contribution agriculture makes to the New Zealand economy and highlights the efforts farmers are making to find better ways to manage their farming systems.

Guests at the showcase were treated to inspiring visual presentations that showcased what each of the nine regional winners had achieved down on the farm.

The Gordon Stephenson trophy was presented to the Mackenzies by the Minister for Primary Industries, the Honourable Nathan Guy.

NZFE Trust chair Alistair Polson said Craige and Roz will be worthy ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture.

“They have demonstrated excellent commitment to their own farming operation and to New Zealand farming in general. And their exceptional communication skills will be a great asset when it comes to promoting the New Zealand story in the international marketplace.”

Mr Polson said the Mackenzies were selected from an outstanding group of regional winners who had clearly proved they have what it takes to be profitable and sustainable guardians of New Zealand’s natural resources.

He said picking a National Winner from such a talented pool of candidates was a major challenge for the judging panel, and he thanked NZFE Trust deputy chair Simon Saunders and his judging team, which included Jacqueline Rowarth, Professor of Agribusiness, Waikato University, Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Chris Kelly, CEO, Landcorp, Paul Lamont, Regional Manager, Rabobank and Jamie Strang, NZFE National Judging Coordinator.

Last year’s National Winners were North Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith, who have done an excellent job of taking the sustainability message around New Zealand and overseas.

With the Ballance Farm Environment Awards continuing to build momentum, Mr Polson said the NZFE Trust is extremely grateful for the support provided by naming-right sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the other key sponsors, regional councils and Trust partners who help make the Awards the success they are.

This support has helped the NZFE play a major role in ensuring farmers are encouraged and rewarded for using good environmental practices, and the programmes and initiatives developed by the Trust have encouraged “a whole new culture of sustainable land management”.

Entries for the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open soon.

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, emaildavid.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz.