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Persistence Pays Off For Repeat Entrants in BoP Farm Environment Awards

1 January 2010

Persistence Pays Off For Repeat Entrants in BoP Farm Environment Awards

The Supreme winners of the 2010 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards are urging farmers to enter the 2011 competition.

Pikowai farmers Bruce and Tessa Calder have entered the BoP Balance Farm Environment Awards three times and have won several category awards, including best livestock farm. This year they were thrilled to win the Supreme award.

The Calders and their manager Gavin Baillie run a diverse farming operation on 450ha of medium hill country between Te Puke and Whakatane.

Bruce and Tessa first entered the BoP Farm Environment Awards in 2006, winning the Ballance Nutrient Management Award that year. In the years they weren't entered, Bruce offered his time as an assessor "so I got to see the competition from both sides".

Each time they entered the competition the Calders took careful note of the comments made by the assessors.

"We came out of it with a list of recommendations, and we've worked on these suggestions over the last three to four years," says Bruce.

Much of this work has centred on the retiring and planting of uneconomic and environmentally sensitive areas of the farm - a labour of love for the Calders.

Bruce says feedback from the assessors was extremely helpful in inspiring them to continue improving their operation.

"Tessa and I have got a lot out of these awards and the feedback from judges has been invaluable. For those who entered the competition this year, I'd say come back next year and keep trying."

He also urges first-time entrants to take the plunge and give it a go. They have nothing to lose, he says, and much to gain.

"Being involved in this competition is a very rewarding experience and you can glean a lot of information from it. I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone else."

Entries for the 2011 BoP Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on September 1, 2011.

For more information on entering the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Bay of Plenty BFEA Regional Coordinator Kirsten Winter, phone (07) 573 5238, (0275) 721 244 or email bop@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.