28 February 2008
Entrants in the 2008 Ballance Farm Environment Awards are putting on a brave face as they open up drought-affected farms to the scrutiny of the judges.
New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust general manager David Natzke says this season has been a tough one for many entrants involved in the annual competition.
“Very dry conditions around much of the country mean that a lot of farms aren’t looking their best,” he says.
“While entrants are clearly very conscious of this when the judging panel arrives at the gate, the judges understand as they are all involved in the farming sector and they know that a drought is just part of farming.”
Mr Natzke says judges look past the sunbaked pastures and moisture starved crops. “These are seasonal things. What the judges are really looking for is evidence that the entrant is focussed on farming in a manner that is both profitable and sustainable in the long term.”
He says entrants have to be commended for their decision to enter the competition in what has been a difficult season for agriculture and horticulture. “They deserve top marks for having the courage to give it a go.”
Feedback from judging coordinators around the country suggests the calibre of entrants this year is again extremely high.
“I know we are going to have another impressive line-up of Supreme and category award winners who will be happy to share their philosophies and innovations with the wider farming community.”
Judging has been completed in several of the eight regions involved in the annual competition and the first region to announce its winners will be the Bayof Plentyon March 5.
Other regions will announce their winners at award evenings between late March and early May.
Supreme winners will then go on to represent their regions at a national Sustainability Showcase later in the year.