Red meat farmers are among the Kiwi farmers to be recognised for their part in the nationwide movement of Predator Free New Zealand when a new Predator Free Farm Award will be presented next year as part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Sponsored by Predator Free NZ Trust and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the new award will acknowledge the efforts of farmers who have put in place systems to effectively manage and monitor predators including possums, rats, feral cats, ferrets, weasels and stoats. The award will be given to farmers who have been successful in controlling predators and are likely to have wider native biodiversity and habitat enhancement programmes in place.
“Farmers manage a significant proportion of the New Zealand landscape so they are vital in the drive to make New Zealand predator free,” says Predator Free NZ Trust chair, Sir Rob Fenwick.
“We know many farmers who have been involved in significant predator control programmes on their land for many years. More and more are seeing the brand value and property enhancement by predator eradication on their properties.
“This award celebrates those already doing great work and will hopefully inspire more people to get involved.”
Joanne van Polanen, chair of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, is thrilled to have developed a partnership with Predator Free NZ Trust.
“For many farmers and growers, managing pests is part and parcel of being effective stewards of the land. Farmers are actively involved in a raft of initiatives to support native biodiversity development including by taking measures to reduce populations of possums, rats, feral cats, ferrets, weasels and stoats”.
“Enhancing our native biodiversity by getting rid of animal predators is a vision that all New Zealanders can get behind. It is important both environmentally and economically. Farmers are great innovators. Increasingly we are finding that farmers are involved in a range of creative initiatives to manage predator populations, including making use of new technology. Acknowledging their efforts, and sharing knowledge about actions that are effective, is essential for achieving the ambition to rid New Zealand of animal predators”.
Farms throughout New Zealand are currently being considered for the Predator Free Farm Award and winners will be announced at a series of regional awards dinners commencing early 2018.
Established in 2013, Predator Free NZ is an independent trust committed to reducing the nation’s predator populations, including rats, stoats, possums, weasels and ferrets. The trust engages with everyday New Zealanders to work at the grassroots and make communities predator free. Its focus is to: grow the vision and tell the story of a Predator Free NZ; support and grow the national army of volunteers; and connect community groups, private landowners, hapu and iwi.