20 May 2020
A long-term commitment to environmental stewardship has earned Rukumoana Farms the top spot at Taranaki’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.
The awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. As a Regional Supreme Winner, Rukumoana Farms is now in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date.
Rukumoana Farms is run by the Brown family – Robert, Jane, Nick, Sophie, Will, Kate and Sam. This cohesive family unit is successfully driving this sheep and beef farm that has significantly grown during the 34 years that Robert and Jane have been involved.
The judges said the family demonstrates a genuine passion for their farm and industry.
“This impressive family operation plays to the strengths of all family members. There’s also an excellent ability to spread risk while managing cashflow.”
The family wants to leave a positive legacy, striving hard to produce quality stock while improving the farm’s environmental footprint. To help offset greenhouse gas emissions, 32ha of trees were planted under the Afforestation Grant Scheme in 2011, plus 12ha of bush retired. Three wetland areas have been fenced off and numerous native plants put in, while poplar poles are used for erosion control and shade, and predators are actively managed.
A direct drill is used to plant fattening crops – a no-tillage approach that helps conserve the soil.
The positive stance of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards attracted the family to enter, along with it being a chance to acknowledge the hard work that has gone into the farm by both past and present generations. Read more about the Browns.
As well as receiving this year’s Supreme Regional Award, they also received the: