1 January 2009
With entries for the 2010 Ballance Farm Environment Awards now open in some regions key sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrient's Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau is encouraging farmers to participate in the awards and take a stand for sustainable farming.
'We need to show the rest of the nation that agriculture is environmentally sound. With regulations and rules threatening the right to farm it is important that farmers demonstrate what is economically and environmentally viable and that self regulation is feasible.'
The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme is set to go ahead, and although some of the timelines may be extended, farmers will still be expected to adjust and monitor their farming practices to meet agricultural sector obligations.
'By bringing together a group of farmers demonstrating industry best practice, and showing that we as an industry have already developed a set of systems and tools to ensure our sustainability into the future we can show Government officials and our urban communities that we are, and will continue to be, responsible for looking after our environment.'
Mr Bilodeau says that it's not just those who enter the awards who benefit.
'The Ballance Farm Environment Awards winners are role models for sustainable farming practices, and what better way for other farmers to learn how to improve their sustainability than from observing and learning about industry best practice from their peers.
'Attending field days and putting into practice the standards set by our Ballance Farm Environment Awards winners will help ease the burden of complying with a new set of rules and regulations as we will already be meeting, and in many cases exceeding, environmental requirements.
'The learning provides a practical way to assist farmers to meet legislative obligations.'
Economic sustainability is under the spotlight too, says Mr Bilodeau, who says that with latest Reserve Bank figures showing agricultural debt on the up, farmers are looking to get the most out of their reduced capital expenditure to achieve the best production outcomes for their farm.
'It's the same proven message - environmental and financial sustainabilty go hand-in-hand.'
With plant nutrients being one of the largest capital investments on-farm, applying plant nutrients where and when they are needed is a key focus for environmental and farm cash flow reasons.
Ballance is helping farmers meet their environmental obligations and work within their budgets to maximise farm productivity by offering soil testing services and working with shareholders to develop Nutrient Management Plans.
To find out when the Ballance Farm Environment Awards open in your region and for more information on awards visit www.nzfeatrust.org.nz