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East Coast Farmer Enjoys First Taste of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

14 September 2011

East Coast Farmer Enjoys First Taste of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Gisborne arable farmer David Clark had two good reasons to be happy about the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Encouraged by the Gisborne District Council, he entered the inaugural East Coast awards this year and won two category awards – the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and the Ballance Agri-nutrients Nutrient Management Award.

His business, Clark Farming, runs 280ha Opou Station – a highly successful maize cropping operation that utilises the latest minimum tillage technology to maximise yields and reduce environmental impacts.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges described Opou as “a meticulous, model cropping farm on all counts”.

David says he was thrilled to win the awards.

“I regard these as an acknowledgement of the efforts we have put into strip tillage and other low-impact farming techniques.”

He says the judging process was enjoyable and motivating.

“The judges were very enthusiastic and it was rewarding to know they could see what we were trying to achieve.”

He believes the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are good for the East Coast region. A friend of his, Hew Dalrymple, was a past supreme winner for the Horizons region, so he knew a little about the awards before he entered.

“But it’s made me realise just how big these awards are around the country.”

He says the awards focus on profitable and sustainable farming in an all-encompassing manner.

“I think it’s very important for our industry to have a competition like this because it enables different farming types to see how they stack up against each other.”

He says he would certainly encourage other farmers to enter the competition because it is a great learning experience.

“If you are trying something interesting and environmentally-sound and you are proud of what you are doing, I’d definitely say give it a go.”

Entries for the 2012 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on September 30, 2011.

The East Coast awards region covers the geographic area of the Gisborne District Council and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The awards define a “farm” as a business enterprise based on the productive or amenity use of soils or other natural resources (including agriculture, horticulture and viticulture).

For more information on the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact BFEA East Coast regional coordinator Kate Taylor, ph (06) 8558 599, 027 603 2200, or emaileastcoast@bfea.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.