Sheep and beef farmers supreme winners in farm environment awards

“Environmental champions” Richard and Dianne Kidd of Helensville are both Supreme winners of the inaugural Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards and also National winners.

Sheep and beef farming operations have scooped five of the 11 regional supreme awards in this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Auckland is the latest region to join the awards, with Helensville sheep, beef and forestry farmers Richard and Dianne Kidd claiming the region’s first Supreme title. Fellow sheep and beef farmers Dennis and Rachelle O’Callaghan, Taipa were Supreme winners in Northland, while Martinborough-based Daniel and Reidun Nicholson won Greater Wellington’s Supreme Award, Brendon and Paula Cross, of Portobello, were named as Supreme winners of the Otago region, while Redcliff sheep, beef and dairy support farmers Shane Gibbons and Bridget Speight claimed the Supreme title for Southland.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) chairman Simon Saunders says the awards programme has once again highlighted the exceptional level of farming talent in New Zealand’s farming sector.

“This year’s entrants, previous entrants and award-winning farmers are leading the way in sustainable farming,” he says.

“Good farmers and growers are more resilient to adverse climatic conditions. They are more efficient and more profitable. They utilise the latest technology to help them manage their natural resources and they preserve and grow biodiversity. They understand and manage nutrient loss and they enhance water quality. They keep their family and staff safe and happy and they work tirelessly in their communities. Their efforts help agriculture remain a pillar of our economy.”

All of the 2016 Supreme award winners will be honoured at NZFE Trust’s National Sustainability Showcase on 22 June in the Bay of Islands, Northland. The national winner will be announced at this event, receiving the prestigious Gordon Stephenson trophy.

Supreme winners also host field days on their properties.

“I’d urge all farmers to get along to these field days because they are both educational and inspirational,” says Saunders.

Entries for the 2017 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on 1 August 2016 and all farmers and horticulturalists should consider entering, urges Saunders.

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