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2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards competition open

Entries are now open for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the annual contest that promotes sustainable land management and is organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

The competition is now operating in ten regions throughout the country – the East Coast awards cover the geographic areas of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council.

Regional chairman Bruce Wills encourages farmers, horticulturists and viticulturists to put themselves forward for the awards or to nominate others who might benefit from being involved. Past-entrants have described their participation as a highly worthwhile experience – most people enter because they want feedback on how their farming or horticultural operation stacks up in terms of environmental sustainability.

Mr Wills says the awards prove sound environmental practises and good business management go hand in hand. Farmers who participate in the competition are also encouraged to share ideas and innovations with the wider farming community.

“You don’t have to have the best looking farm in the district to enter. Regional competitions offer a host of category awards as well as a Supreme Winner. This is an exciting and rewarding experience for those who enter. We really look forward to seeing your entry.”

Entering the competition is as easy as filling out a simply entry form, available online at www.bfea.org.nz. East Coast entries close on 19 September. First round judging will take place in October with finals judging in November.

The judging process is conducted in a relaxed and friendly manner, and judges always take climatic factors into account.

“Farmers can be reluctant to enter if their farm has been affected by drought or a storm. But the judges know severe climatic events are all part of farming and they will look beyond this at the wider picture.”

An awards dinner will be held in Napier on 5 March to announce the winners. This year’s East Coast Supreme Winner was Rob and Sandra Faulknor and Bruce and Jo Graham on Wairakaia, near Gisborne, while the previous three winners were from Central Hawke’s Bay.

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