Announcing the winners of this year's Ballance Farm Environment Awards
Te Karoa Farms – Northland Regional Supreme winner
Jeff Martin and Helen Linssen have been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winners in the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. A commitment to quality and waterway management has established Jeff and Helen as industry leaders, while their beef farming approach is successful in terms of both liveweight gains and sustainability. The judges said they are walking the talk - running a successful, modern farming business tailored well to Northland conditions, plus generously sharing their time and experience throughout the wider industry. “We were inspired by their commitment to research, planning and implementation of a whole farm system, carefully designed around financially and environmentally sustainable production,” the judges said. “Climate resilience and adaptation is built into the business, with an emphasis on water security, soil protection, land retirement, and planting suited to the land capability. The Far North business is run across three properties, with the success of their management plan reflected in the amount and quality of pasture. GPS mapping divides the properties into grazing cells, allowing stock to be moved regularly and have long winter rotations. The judges commended the creation of generous riparian buffers, along with biodiversity protection and enhancement
Oete Goat Farm – Auckland Regional Supreme winner
Mathew and Sarah Bolton have been named the 2020 Regional Supreme Winners at the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. Over the past six years, the Boltons have established Oete Goat Farm - an exemplar operation that combines profitability with a broadly sustainable approach. The transformation of the Auckland property has been guided by a dual focus on producing high-quality products while reducing the farm’s environmental impact. A farm manager and nine fulltime staff contribute to the success of this goat farming operation that involves pasture being cut and carried daily to feed 2500 milking goats. The judges said people and animal welfare were at the heart of the business and regarded as equally important to business returns. The couple embraces challenges, continually reassessing systems and enhancing biodiversity.
A long-term commitment to environmental stewardship has earned Rukumoana Farms the top spot at Taranaki’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. As a Regional Supreme Winner, Rukumoana Farms is now in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date. Rukumoana Farms is run by the Brown family – Robert, Jane, Nick, Sophie, Will, Kate and Sam. This cohesive family unit is successfully driving this sheep and beef farm that has significantly grown during the 34 years that Robert and Jane have been involved. The judges said the family demonstrates a genuine passion for their farm and industry. “This impressive family operation plays to the strengths of all family members. There’s also an excellent ability to spread risk while managing cashflow.
Woodhaven Gardens has been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date. Woodhaven Gardens is a family business established in 1978 by Eric and John Clarke, with the lifestyle choice soon becoming a passion for producing the best produce available. The Levin property is unique for its size and crop diversity – 23 different vegetables, plus maize and ryegrass to improve soil health and reduce nutrient losses. Annually, they sell 27 million individual vegetable units which is about 10% of the national supply, and contribute between $30–35mil to New Zealand’s GDP.
Anna and Ben Gillespie – Otago Supreme Regional winner
A passion for farming has led to Anna & Ben Gillespie being named Regional Supreme Winners at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date. Taking a strategic approach that plays to their strengths has paid off for this Omakau couple as they diversify and grow their beef and dairy grazing business. Highly conscious of the farm’s environmental impact, they’re anticipating future regulatory changes by taking action now. Over the past two years, Anna and Ben have diversified into beef finishing to complement the original dairy grazing business on the 360ha effective farm. Their team approach plays to their individual strengths and the result is a highly productive business that looks to the future, while still achieving a work-life balance with family at its core.
Geordie and Frances Eade – Southland Supreme Regional winner
Striking a balance between productivity and environmental stewardship has earned Riverton’s Geordie & Frances Eade the top spot at Southland’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. As a Regional Supreme Winner, the Eades are now in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date. Big picture thinking that balances business risk with sustainability is guiding the development of this Riverton sheep and beef, breeding and finishing farm. The result is sustainable productivity, achieved with a highly organised operation that puts family life first.
Paerua – Waikato Supreme Regional winner
Mark and Felicity Brough have been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winners in the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date. Native birds have returned, and water quality has improved, since the Broughs took over Paerua about 20 years ago – reflecting their respect of land, animals, soil and water. The Waitomo sheep and beef, breeding and store fattening farm runs about 170 weaner bulls and steer calves, and 2,150 sheep. The judges said Paerua is an excellent example of farming within the capabilities of the land and that the Broughs are role-models both in terms of their farming systems and their commitment to biodiversity.
Evan and Linda Potter – East Coast Supreme Regional winner
Central Hawke's Bay sheep, beef and deer farmers Evan and Linda Potter have won the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. They were announced the winners at a dinner attended by almost 200 people at the Bushmere Arms in Gisborne on the evening of Wednesday 4 March. 2020 was the 10th annual awards for the East Coast, which is chaired by the region’s inaugural winner, Steve Wyn-Harris. Balancing business security with protecting the land and resources for future generations was one of the reasons behind the Potters’ win, the judges said.
Tony Coltman and Dana Carver of Canlac Holdings have been named the Canterbury Supreme Winners in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. These Regional Supreme Winners will be profiled at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Wellington on Thursday 4 June, with each in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy. Being early adopters of research and methods to reduce their environmental footprint was one of the key reasons the Dunsandel dairy farmers, won the Canterbury Supreme Award. The judges said Tony and Dana were farming sustainably in terms of the environment, people and economically. “They show a great commitment and knowledge of reducing nitrate leaching,” the judges said
Kaiwaiwai Dairies has been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. Demonstrating good environmental stewardship is a key focus for the team at Kaiwaiwai Dairies – operated as an equity partnership with six shareholders. Driven by Aidan Bichan, Neville Fisher and Vern Brasell, Kaiwaiwai is almost completely self-contained – a policy that provides biosecurity assurance and reduces risk around feed supplies. The judges said those involved in the farming business bring an incredibly varied complement of skills, plus make a generous contribution to the wider community. “All members of the business contribute to this thorough and high-performing dairy farm. They’re industry leaders in adopting sustainable management practices. “Management of the business and environment is well thought-out and shared with peers and the wider community. They’re exceedingly generous in their involvement with the community – from farm discussion groups to central government.”