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A key factor in the success of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is the strong support provided by agribusinesses and Government agencies, says NZ Farm Environment Award Trust chairman Jim Cotman.
Speaking after the highly successful annual Sustainability Showcase on June 27, Mr Cotman heaped praise upon the industry organisations and private companies that had thrown their weight behind the Awards.

Now recognised as one of New Zealand’s most prestigious farming events, the Awards celebrate those people who are using best practice to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. They are administered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust (NZFEAT) – an independent non-profit organisation that “seeks to advance sustainable environmental management of land and other resources on farms”.

Mr Cotman, a North Waikato dairy farmer, thanked the sponsors – Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Silver Fern Farms, LIC, Gallagher Group, Hill Laboratories and PGG Wrightson – “who have made such a valuable contribution to the success of the Awards”. He said the Trust was also extremely proud to have a number of key partnerships that contribute to the ongoing growth of the Awards.

“One of the most obvious partnerships is with MAF, where we work alongside the Sustainable Farming Fund team to assist peer review applications to that fund. Now we are further proudly associated with MAF through the annual NZFEAT and MAF Study Scholarship programme.

“This year Fonterra, New Zealand’s top dairy business, has joined as a partner to demonstrate that they too wish to recognise the efforts that farmers already make in understanding and managing the effects their practices have on the environment. We are very pleased to have that association. “In fact the dairy industry has been solid in its support, with DairyNZ working with us to provide a leadership learning platform for dairy farmers who have come through the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

“Farmers respect fellow farmers and we are finding that participants in the Awards gain that respect and then begin to take on the ‘mantle’ to speak and lead.  “We also have a mutually beneficial partnership with the QEII Trust, as we invariably find that many of our entrants have long ago or are currently working through the process of protecting and covenanting tracts of bush for the benefit of future generations. They are a natural partner.”

Mr Cotman said the Awards also received “invaluable” support from regional councils, including Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Otago Regional Council and the Northland Regional Council.

He said the backing of these organisations had underpinned the success of the awards for many years to come.

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