20 December 2008
An attack on Ballance’s sponsorship of the Farm Environment Awards is way off the mark, said New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust chairman Jim Cotman.
“As a farmer I recognise the comments as those of a competitor seeking publicity to push a different product. As chairman of NZFEA Trust I see the comments as ill-informed and badly misdirected.”
Mr Cotman was responding to a media release questioning why Ballance Agri-Nutrients, a major fertiliser company, is sponsoring the awards. He said Ballance supported the awards because the company believes in what the awards are trying to achieve – the promotion of sustainable and environmentally-sound farming practices.
“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards showcase the innovative forward-looking ideas that New Zealand farmers are recognised for world-wide,” he said. NZFEA’s relationship with Ballance and other agribusinesses provides the Trust with the opportunity to “unashamedly celebrate the successes and contributions agriculture provides to the New Zealand economy”. He said the support offered by these agribusinesses demonstrates “they are very serious about seeking ways to manage the effects that food production has on the resources around us”.
Mr Cotman said a key aim of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to seek an understanding of the environmental issues farmers face. “We often find that innovative solutions are already being trialed on farm, and the information gathered over the years has enabled the Trust to produce a number of easy-to-use management tools that provide good relevant information on sustainable farming practices.”
As a result, NZFEA has been able to provide farmers with comprehensive information on topics such as nutrient budgeting, how to identify ‘hot spots’ on farm where water quality may be compromised, the establishment and management of plantings for shade and shelter, how to build and maintain farm tracks and races, and how to plant stream banks to protect water quality.
Mr Cotman said it’s rewarding to see these farmer-led initiatives being picked up and widely promoted within the agricultural sector.
“So NZFEA commends Ballance and our other sponsors and partners, our partnering Regional Councils and the many farmer entrants who support the collaborative approach that we take to improve the stewardship of our land.
“These sponsors and partners have demonstrated vision and commitment to ensure that we all drive forward towards a sustainable and viable farming future for New Zealand’s benefit.”
Information on the work being done by the NZFEA Trust is available on the Trust’s website www.nzfeatrust.org.nz