Sheep, beef and venison producers are among farmers and growers being encouraged to enter the 2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The awards are organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust to promote land stewardship by showcasing sustainable farming and entries have opened today (August 1).
The awards operate within 11 regions, following regional council boundaries, each with their own judging timetable. Winners are announced at awards dinners in early 2018.
NZFE Trust national judging coordinator Andrea Hanna says all farmers and horticulturists, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, are eligible to enter.
She says most people participate because they want high quality feedback from independent rural professionals which they can use to improve their business.
“It’s not just targeted at top farmers. Every farmer should take the opportunity to enter.”
Hanna says the awards prove good farming practices and sound business management go hand in hand. Farmers who participate in the awards programme are also encouraged to share ideas and innovations with the wider farming community.
Entering the Awards takes two minutes by completing a simple form, available online at www.bfea.org.nz
It costs nothing to enter and the awards programme offers excellent educational opportunities for any farmer and grower who is interested in improving the sustainability of their farming business including key social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The judging teams have a wide range of skills and look at all parts of the farming business. Judging is conducted in a relaxed and friendly manner and climatic factors are taken into account.
“In the past we’ve found farmers can be reluctant to enter if their farm has been affected by wet weather or drought. But the judges know severe climatic events are part of farming and will look beyond this at the wider picture,” Hanna says.
Providing the entrant agrees to be involved, people are able to nominate another farming or growing business they feel is worthy or may be interested in the awards programme.
Many past entrants say their involvement has helped their personal development because they get to meet and be inspired by a range of like-minded people.
More information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is available on the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust website.