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2011 Annual Report Marks a Good Year for Farm Environment Trust

7 November 2011

2011 Annual Report Marks a Good Year for Farm Environment Trust

The New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust has celebrated another successful year for its flagship enterprise, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At the Trust’s annual general meeting in late October, NZFEA chairman Jim Cotman said the Trust had maintained the momentum of previous years, despite the ‘volatile” economic situation.

“Fortunately we have very dedicated trustees and management teams who are focused on ensuring the NZFEA Trust delivers first class products, either through its awards and awards event programme or through other educational or joint venture activities.”

Mr Cotman said 2011 saw the East Coast region participating in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time, bringing the number of regions involved in the competition to nine.

Another first was the introduction of a national award, the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner chosen from the nine regional Supreme winners. The inaugural award was presented at the annual Sustainability Showcase to Southland farmers Grant and Bernie Weller.

Mr Cotman said this award adds another dimension to the competition and provides deserved recognition for the New Zealand agriculture sector.

He said the standard of Supreme winners in the 2011 competition was superb. Supreme winner field days around the country drew huge attendances, reflecting growing farmer interest in sustainability.

And feedback from those farmers and horticulturists who entered the 2011 competition confirmed it as a thoroughly worthwhile experience.

“The awards continue to go from strength to strength with a continuous stream of motivated, enthusiastic entrants willing to benchmark their progress.”

Another highlight for the Trust was the ongoing success of its Dairy Leadership development programme, which is designed to increase farmer knowledge of environmental sustainability and promote farmer leadership.  More than 100 dairy farmers have taken part in the programme since it started four years ago.

Mr Cotman said the Trust continues to forge new partnerships and engage in ventures that benefit New Zealand “by promoting real stories of sustainable farming”.

The key to the success of the NZFEA Trust and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is the calibre and enthusiasm of people involved with its programmes, he said.

“They all share a passion for sustainability and have a genuine social connection to the real world of agriculture.”

He also acknowledged ongoing support from the Trust’s strategic partners, regional councils and a “very dedicated team of sponsors”.

NZFEA general manager David Natzke said the Ballance Farm Environment Awards continue to grow and have the potential to be the leading agricultural competition in New Zealand.

“Having delivered a successful 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Awards programme, it is so satisfying to have everyone lining up to do it all again next year.”

A copy of NZFEA’s annual report and audited accounts, along with comments from past-competition entrants, is available from NZFEA Trust’s soon-to-be upgraded website atwww.nzfeatrust.org.nz.

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