1 January 2010
Hawke’s Bay farmer and Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen is encouraging East Coast farmers to enter the 2011 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
He says while farmers face significant challenges when it comes to the environment and its impact on business profitability, being involved with the competition will help East Coast farmers learn more about how to improve their sustainability and environmental management.
Now held in nine regions throughout the country, the annual awards recognise farmers and horticulturists who run their businesses in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way.
This year the East Coast will host the competition for the first time and Mike Petersen, who owns a 400ha finishing farm near Waipukurau, says there are many farmers throughout the region who would benefit from entering the inaugural awards.
“These awards are a great way for farmers to benchmark themselves and show that we are good custodians of the land.”
He says the awards also have much to offer in terms of providing farmers with information on topics like the protection of waterways and how to plant and manage trees grown for shade, shelter and slope stability.
“Too often we look at these things as a cost when in fact they can offer significant advantages in terms of stock management, animal welfare, improved productivity and increased land values.”
Mike says the awards will be great for the East Coast region because they will feature farmers “who have a real sense of pride in their land and have made significant efforts to improve it for future generations”.
He says the awards will showcase farmers who are implementing best environmental practices “and get others thinking along the same lines.”
Beef + Lamb New Zealand is sponsoring the Livestock Farm Award in this year’s competition and Mike says the organisation is proud to be supporting the awards.
“Beef + Lamb New Zealand has put a lot of effort into highlighting environmental issues and promoting environmental sustainability. So it’s good for us to be involved with the awards because we share the same goals.”
He says the awards also provide wider benefits for the New Zealand economy.
“Overseas consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental and animal welfare issues,” he says.
“They are looking very closely at how our products are produced and they want to be assured that our animal welfare is good and our environmental practices are sound.”
Entries for the 2011 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on October 13, 2010.
For more information or an entry form, visit www.bfea.org.nz or contact BFEA East Coast regional coordinator Kate Taylor, ph (06) 8558 599, 027 603 2200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.