14 July 2007
It may have been Black Friday, but the passionate views expressed by some of the country’s leading farmers at a special function on July 13 suggest New Zealand agriculture has a very bright future indeed.
Held in Queenstown, the fourth annual Sustainability Showcase celebrated the efforts of the Supreme winners from the 2007 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Eight regional winners were honoured and the showcase included video presentations of each winning farm. A passion for the land and the desire to leave the land in better condition for the next generation were common themes echoed by the winners.
Speaking on behalf of award sponsors, David Graham, chairman of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, paid tribute to the winners and the organisers. He said the awards play an important role in showcasing best practice in environmental management and sustainable farming.
“The feedback from the participants this year is that they were really looking for information on how to improve their practices, they didn’t just want a pat on the back. “While the Farm Environment Awards are about celebrating winning practices, they are first and foremost focused on learning and knowledge sharing. So, to the entrants and winners this year, we congratulate you as industry leaders in sustainability.”
Supreme award winners become role models in an era when farmers are under growing pressure to improve environmental sustainability. Mr Graham said the increasing global demand for food products, combined with the production of crops for biofuels is placing pressure on agriculture to produce more off the same land.
“However, with increased returns and sound economic conditions it is important that we take the opportunity to invest in minimising our environmental footprint wherever practical.”
Also speaking at the showcase was the Hon Bill English, deputy leader of the National Party, and Jim Cotman, chairman of the NZ Farm Environment Awards Trust.
In keeping with the farming theme, guests were herded into the dinner room by a team of huntaway dogs.
David Natzke, general manager of the NZ Farm Environment Awards Trust, said the event was a great success, enjoyed by all who participated in it.
He said the showcase dinner was preceded by a highly informative forum on urbanisation and its impact on agriculture.
Supreme regional winners of the 2007 Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:
Otago - Simon, Camille, Terry and Pat McAtamney
Waikato - Bob and David and Lyndi Jefferis
Canterbury - David and Hilary Ward
Horizons – Hew and Cecilia and Roger and Sharon Dalrymple
Southland - David and Kay Dodunski
Bay of Plenty - Jim and Robyn and Allen and Sue Coster
Northland - Evan and Sherleen Smeath
Wellington - Andrew and Anna Renton
Sponsors of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards include Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PPCS, LIC, Gallagher Group, Hill Laboratories and PGG Wrightson.
The awards are also backed by Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Otago Regional Council and the Northland Regional Council.