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Forum Helps Farmers Tackle Urban Growth Issue

19 June 2007

Forum Helps Farmers Tackle Urban Growth Issue

The booming Queenstown district provides the backdrop for a forum that addresses the thorny issue of how urbanisation will affect farming practices in future.

Held on July 13, this forum coincides with the Supreme Showcase of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

NZ Farm Environment Award Trust general manager David Natzke says Queenstown is an appropriate venue for a forum that looks at how urban growth affects farming practices today and in the future.

He says the rapid growth of many New Zealand towns and the increasing popularity of lifestyle blocks is putting more pressure on agricultural land and affecting the way many farmers run their operations.

“This issue is one that has already been tested in the Queenstown area,” he says.  “There has been a considerable amount of development taking place in the region and the indications are there is more to come.”

Forum speakers include John Aspinall of Mt Aspiring Station – Supreme winner of the 2006 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, along with fellow farmers Chris Dagg and Debbie McColl. Also speaking will be Gillian Macleod from Queenstown Lakes District Council’s strategy and planning committee.

Chaired by Jim Cotman, chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, the forum is bound to create some lively debate.

“This really is a major issue facing New Zealand agriculture today,” says Mr Natzke.  “All the forum participants are well versed with the issues associated with established farming practices meeting the new challenges of urbanisation.”

The forum will give farmers the opportunity to hear about the problems other farmers have had to face. They will also learn about ways in which the impacts of urbanisation can be managed in future.

“This is not an issue that is unique to the Queenstown Lakes District Council; it is one that is being addressed by district councils right throughout New Zealand.”

The forum is open to all members of the public, and the ticket cost of $90 per person includes morning tea, lunch and admission to the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Supreme Showcase dinner at the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown.

This Showcase celebrates the achievements of the Supreme winners from the eight regions participating in the 2007 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Also attending the dinner will be representatives from regional councils, BFEA supporters, regional coordinators and judges, and awards sponsor representatives from Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PPCS, LIC, Gallagher Group, Hill Laboratories and PGG Wrightson.

To register for the forum, phone (03) 214 4613, email ask@positiveenergy.biz