Joanne van Polanen, the new chair of the Trust which runs the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, says that the organisation is looking forward to working with the new Government to showcase the efforts that farmers and growers are making to balance the needs of the environment, animals, plants and people.
Van Polanen was appointed the new chair of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust at the Trust’s recent Annual Meeting. She had previously been treasurer and deputy chair of the Trust.
“The Trust is uniquely placed to work across the primary sector to promote farming excellence with other farmers and growers,” she comments. “Increasingly, farmers and growers are reframing environmental issues as opportunities. We would like to see New Zealand’s farmers and growers recognised as global leaders in the stewardship of land and water.”
The Trust’s awards have identified a strong cohort of regional and national farming leaders who exemplify the very best in profitable and sustainable farming practices, she says.
“These are the people who are taking farming to the next level, showcasing what ‘future-ready’ farming really looks like. These are people who are ready and proud to welcome consumers onto their farms.”
Farming is evolving quickly in New Zealand, and adopting new practices and technology that will see our producers retain their place as world leaders in food and fibre that comes from using resources responsibly, van Polanen says. She has invited the new Ministry of Agriculture to call on the Trust to help showcase sustainable food and fibre production to a wider audience.
Joanne van Polanen farms with her family near Ashburton. She has acknowledged the role of the previous chair, Simon Saunders, who had been on the Trust Board for the last nine years. Mr Saunders has stepped down to focus on personal and business commitments.
With Hew Dalrymple also retiring after several terms, the new Board members elected to the Farm Environment Trust
were Phill Muir who farms with his family in Taranaki, and Dr Mike Scarsbrook, who is employed at Fonterra as programme manager – water.