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Farm Environment Award Trust Saddened by Sponsor's Last-Minute Withdrawal

1 January 2009

Farm Environment Award Trust Saddened by Sponsor's Last-Minute Withdrawal

Organisers of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are disappointed by a sponsor's late withdrawal from the programme.

NZ Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust chairman Jim Cotman said the decision by Silver Fern Farms to end its sponsorship was unexpected, "especially considering it comes at a time when industry and farmer support for the Awards is at an all-time high".

While the withdrawal won't affect the running of the 2010 competition, Mr Cotman said the timing wasn't helpful. "Personally, I'm pretty disappointed with the lack of forward notice because this year's entry forms were already printed and in the market place."

However, he said SFF's change of heart creates opportunities for others to participate in the highly respected Awards programme.

"We've already received interest from organisations who might like to fill the gap, and that comes as a very heartening and positive recognition of the important role the Awards now play."

Mr Cotman said the 2010 Awards will continue full-swing "thanks to existing and strongly committed sponsors like Ballance Agri-nutrients, Hill Laboratories, PGG Wrightson, LIC, NZFEA Trust and Massey University".

Ongoing support from industry partners and regional councils in the regions involved was also a significant factor in the continued success of the Awards.

Mr Cotman said the Awards provide real-life examples of the passion and investment most farmers and growers put into the intergenerational stewardship of the resources they use and care for.

He said the benchmarking provided by dedicated and skilled judging teams is increasingly acknowledged as a key feature of the competition "and we expect another high quality line-up of entrants for the 2010 event".

While saddened to see Silver Fern Farms leave the family of sponsors, Mr Cotman said he would like to thank the company for its support in the past.

He said the Trust appreciates comments made by SFF's chief executive Keith Cooper, who said the company has enjoyed the association over the years "and will continue to endorse the Trust’s well-intentioned and inspirational role".

Mr Cooper said there is no question that environmental issues are critical to the sustainability and profitability of the pastoral sector in New Zealand.

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, phone 07 834 0400, email david.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz or visit www.bfea.org.nz