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East Coast Region Joins Farm Environment Awards

1 January 2010

East Coast Region Joins Farm Environment Awards

Farmers and horticulturists on the east coast of the North Island now have the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust has formed a partnership with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council to bring the competition to the East Coast Region as of 1 July 2010.

"We welcome the East Coast to the awards and we are looking forward to seeing some magnificent examples of East Coast farmers doing what they do best," says NZFEA chairman Jim Cotman.

The annual Ballance Farm Environment awards recognise farmers who are farming in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The addition of the East Coast brings the number of regions involved in the awards to nine.

Kevin Rose, chairman of HBRC's Asset Management and Biosecurity committee, says the region's involvement with the Farm Environment Awards will be extremely beneficial for farmers, orchardists and the wider community.

"In this day and age, everyone has to be aware of the importance of environmental sustainability," he says.

"Land-based industries are the life-blood of the East Coast region and so it's crucial that regional councils are seen to be providing leadership in this area."

Mr Rose says the competition will showcase modern and efficient farming practises that are aimed at improving environmental management and business profitability.

"I'm looking forward to the awards getting underway and I think we are going to see a very high calibre of entrants coming forward for the region's inaugural competition."

Larry Bilodeau, chief executive of naming-rights sponsor of the awards, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the company is delighted at the news of a ninth region participating in the awards.

“We are particularly pleased to have the East Coast region on board as we are certain that their diverse mix of agriculture, viticulture and horticulture will enrich the awards experience for all involved.

"Variety is what makes the Ballance Farm Environment Awards so inspiring and rewarding, and we need farmers from all different backgrounds to participate in these awards in order to make them a true success.

"That way most farmers can relate, and will learn something about their own farming practises."

Jim Cotman says the awards continue to grow in strength and recognition. The addition of the East Coast region gives further momentum and means wide regional coverage across the country.

He says interest in the 2010 competition was evidenced by exceptional attendances at field days on Supreme award-winning farms around the country