1 January 2007
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have concluded for another year, with eight more Supreme award winners crowned for their contribution to environmental sustainability.
Celebrating those people using best practice to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, the annual awards are held in eight regions throughout the country.
The Northland region’s Supreme award was won by Hukerenui dairy farmers Evan and Sherleen Smeath, and the Waikato Supreme award went to the Jefferis family, who run a livestock and cropping operation near Te Kauwhata.
Bay of Plenty’s Supreme award went to the Coster family’s sheep and beef operation on the Kaimai Ranges, and Supreme award winners for the Horizons region were large scale arable and drystock farmers Hew and Roger Dalrymple, Bulls.
Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Andrew and Anna Renton, who farm at Bideford, north east of Masterton, were Supreme award winners in the Wellington region, and the Canterbury contest was won by Ashburton mixed cropping farmers David and Hilary Ward.
The McAtamney family, who run a sheep and beef unit at Waitahuna, were Supreme award winners in the Otago region, and Isla Bank dairy farmers David and Kay Dodunski took out the Supreme title in Southland.
As well as the Supreme award winners, a host of other category award winners were recognised for their efforts in improving environmental management.
Supreme Award winners from around the country will gather in July for a national showcase event that will be held in Queenstown.
This year’s contest attracted 140 entries across the eight regions involved, and national judging coordinator Ted Coats says many entrants were seeking to benchmark their properties using the expertise of the judging groups.
“Others are comfortable to have their farms compared with the best in the region.”
He says entries were spread across all farming and horticultural types and included a pleasing number of return entrants from previous years.
“Many have taken on the advice from previous judging visits and done a considerable amount besides. It is evident though that those returning entrants have found value in being involved with the BFEA process.”
Mr Coats says it was also refreshing to see the level of progress achieved on farms involved in the competition.
Traditional arable, livestock and dairy farms are continuing to diversify “especially at the marketing end of the business, and what was regarded as innovative a few years ago has now become mainstream”.
Competition entrants are tested on their awareness of the environmental, financial and social impacts of their operation. Judges also seek to find out how innovative entrants are in addressing or mitigating these impacts.
“We have an outstanding team of judges around the country and the whole process is conducted with an enormous amount of goodwill,” says Mr Coats.