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Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards Promote Idea Sharing

1 January 2010

Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards Promote Idea Sharing

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards provide a great forum for people from different primary industries to exchange ideas on environmental sustainability, says Northland forest manager John Robinson.

John works for Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL), a Japanese-owned forestry and wood processing company that grows 30,000ha of exotic forest and operates two mills in the Northland region.

Last year JNL Northland won the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award in the 2010 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

BFEA judges noted the company’s commitment to minimising the environmental impacts of its logging practices and its work with a local landcare group to restore Lake Ngatu.

Prior to tree harvesting the company conducts extensive environmental planning to identify significant waterways, native bush areas, kiwi and areas of risk. Different logging and management practices are then utilised to suit different classes of country and soil types.

John says the company is very aware of its responsibilities to the environment, its staff and the wider Far North community.

JNL Northland entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time last year and John says it proved to be a thoroughly worthwhile experience.

He says the awards are great for bringing together people from different primary industries and promoting “positive education” on environmental issues.

“We are a commercial forestry company so we are much different to your typical farming business. But we face many of the same environmental challenges that farmers face and I think we all have a lot to gain by cross-pollinating our ideas and our knowledge.”

John says he found the awards judging process to be informal and rewarding and he also appreciated the networking opportunities the awards provided.

“It was a great competition. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

As a judge in the 2011awards, he is looking forward to being involved in the competition again. The judging process is a two-way street and judges are willing to provide advice if asked.

John says he will be happy to pass on some of the lessons learnt from commercial forestry, particularly when it comes to effective roading infrastructure and ways to minimise run-off.

His advice to anyone considering entering the 2011 Northland Ballance Farm Environment awards is to “give it a go”.

“We’ve all got to take responsibility for environmental sustainability. These awards are a very good way to gain knowledge in this field.”

Entries for the 2011 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on November 5, 2010. For more information on the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Stephanie Gordon, Regional Co-ordinator, ph (09) 432 0037 or email northland@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.