Entries for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1, 2012.
Administered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) and operating in nine regions, the annual competition promotes sustainable land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a manner that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
Entry forms for the 2013 competition are available from the NZFE website at www.nzfeatrust.org.nz
NZFE chairman Jim Cotman says this website has been upgraded to make it easier for farmers to find information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and the Trust’s other activities.
Regions have had different opening dates in the past, but as part of a plan to simplify the entry process, all regions now open on August 1. Closing dates are still staggered and these dates are also listed on the website.
Jamie Strang, National Judging Coordinator for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, says farmers considering entering the 2013 competition should check out the website to view comments made by previous entrants.
“Many farmers use the Awards to benchmark their sustainability progress. It’s a great opportunity for farmers to discuss their business with a team of skilled judges who want to understand their farming philosophy and why they make the decisions they do.”
Mr Strang says judging is an “inclusive process that allows farmers to test their ideas without fear or prejudice”.
Previous entrants have described entering the awards as a rewarding and inspiring experience.
Blair and Jane Smith, national winners of the 2012 Awards, entered the competition to get their North Otago farming business evaluated by a team of specialist judges.
“We’d certainly encourage any farmer to enter the awards. It’s worth it for the judging process alone,” says Jane.
Jim Cotman says interest in the awards is running high following another very successful year which culminated with the National Sustainability Showcase in late June. A highlight of the event was the announcement of the winners of the Gordon Stephenson trophy.
“Blair and Jane are just beginning their ambassadorial role for New Zealand agriculture and they will do a great job of representing New Zealand farmers both here and overseas.”
Mr Cotman says the 2012 awards attracted an excellent number of entries and the calibre was again very high.
He says NZFE continues to be recognised for its work in promoting sustainable farming, and preparations for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards are now well underway.
He urges farmers to visit the NZFE website and read about some of the inspirational role models the Awards programme has produced. Information about past-winners, representing a range of farming sectors, includes details of their farm management practices.
“I’d also strongly recommend the five-minute interview with Gordon Stephenson, the inspiration behind the Awards program. It’s a very thought-provoking interview that traces the origins of the Awards and demonstrates to a wider audience some of the great things farmers are doing.”
(Note from QEII: Nine QEII covenantors received awards in the 2012 Awards round. See Open Space magazine October 2012 issue).