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Top Farmers Named In 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Awards

27 April 2011

Top Farmers Named In 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Awards

The Supreme winners from the nine regions participating in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards have all been announced, but the 2011 competition is far from over. Now the search is on for a national winner.

New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust general manager David Natzke (pictured above) says this year’s highly successful competition drew another outstanding line-up of entrants from a broad range of enterprises.

He says interest in the National Winner award is running high “and all the Supreme winners have welcomed the opportunity to be part of this new award”.

The National Winner will be announced at the annual New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust Sustainability Showcase, held this year in Hastings on June 25.

This year’s supreme-winning enterprises included four dairy farms, two sheep and beef, one arable and two horticultural.

David Natzke says an interesting feature of this year’s awards was the sharp rise in the number of dairy farm entrants, particularly in Waikato and Northland.

“Dairy farming cops a lot of negative press, but many dairy farmers are doing a great job and they want to show the wider community that they are proud of what they do.”

The last of the Ballance Farm Environment Regional Award ceremonies for 2011 was held on April 15.

Peter and Helen Gilder, managers of Landcorp’s ‘Waitepeka Farm’, southeast of Balclutha, were named Supreme winners of the 2011 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, and Tauranga kiwifruit growers, Graham and Mavis Dyer, won the Bay of Plenty title.

Eric and Maxine Watson, who run a 490ha arable farm, east of Ashburton, won Canterbury’s Supreme award, and Eketahuna dairy farmers, Rickie Morrison and Sharleen Hutching, were Supreme winners for the Horizons region.

The top award in the inaugural East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards went to Takapau sheep and beef farmers, Steve and Jane Wyn-Harris, while Sue and Shane Culham, who run Puripak Avocados Ltd, east of Whangarei, won the Northland title.

Waimea Valley sheep and beef farmers, Grant and Bernie Weller, were Supreme winners of the Southland awards, and Carterton dairy farmers, Ray and Lyn Craig, won the Supreme title for the Greater Wellington region.

Tirau dairy farmers, Gordon and Pamela Blake and their son, Grant, and his wife, Lindsay, won the Supreme award in the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The awards celebrate those people who use best practises to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

Entries for the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open later this year.

Key sponsors of the 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Awards include Ballance Agri-Nutrients, LIC, Hill Laboratories, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Massey University and PGG Wrightson.

The awards are also backed by Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Gisborne District Council, Environment Canterbury, Otago Regional Council and the Northland Regional Council.

The Sustainability Showcase will also be supported by Trust partners, Fonterra, MAF, QE2 Trust, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and DairyNZ.

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.