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National Winner Continues 'Pass-It-On' Legacy of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

20 June 2011

National Winner Continues 'Pass-It-On' Legacy of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

The soon-to-be-named National Winner of the 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Awards will continue a long-held tradition of inspiring others.

New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust chairman Jim Cotman (pictured right) calls this the ‘pass it on’ legacy.

Successful entrants are encouraged to become involved with the Awards programme as soon as they are able. Other farming leaders are also invited to “pick up the baton”.

Mr Cotman has first-hand experience of this himself. Many years ago he was shoulder-tapped by Awards founder Gordon Stephenson and asked to take on a judging role in the Waikato Farm Environment Awards.

“Gordon was persuasive, and he told me the job would be good for me.”

He accepted the job and quickly became an avid supporter of the Awards.

“This is only a small part of the ‘pass it on’ legacy. A similar approach is now used in each of the regions that run the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.”

Mr Cotman believes this philosophy is an integral part of the ongoing success of the Awards programme.

“It creates enthusiasm and an ‘addiction’ for involvement. Past Supreme winners are often seen leading the local teams. Past entrants are now lining up to participate in the judging or running of the Awards because they have been inspired by the ‘pass it on’ philosophy.

“Sponsors and industry partners are also encouraged to get involved, ensuring that the next generation of farmers, judging teams, coordinators and supporters are included and encouraged.”

Mr Cotman says the inaugural National Winner will play a key role in inspiring others to participate in the competition that acknowledges the passion, innovation and stewardship of New Zealand farmers.

The Gordon Stephenson trophy will be presented to one of nine regional Supreme title holders at the 2011 New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust Sustainability Showcase in Hastings on June 25.

NZFEA general manager David Natzke says the National Winner award is an exciting initiative that originated “because of the credibility the Awards programme has gained in the years it has been operating”.

He says the National Winner award will be judged by four independent judges, selected for a broad range of skills and experience.

The judging process will be very thorough and the eventual winner will become a respected ambassador for sustainable farming in New Zealand.

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.