Byron Vollweiler and Amanda Snow from Berriedale in Outram, have been named 2022 Regional Supreme Winners in the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the awards champion sustainable farming and growing. The Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards were announced at a function held at Orokonui Ecosanctuary on 10 June.
Owned by the Vollweiler family since 1953, Berriedale has grown to 1,100ha. Sheep graze across 800ha, while 200ha is planted in productive trees and a further 100ha is regenerating native bush and wetlands.
Tree planting is carefully matched to soil type to ensure the best return from the land. As well as forestry production, the trees generate social and economic value through carbon sequestration, generating 20% of the farm’s income. They also provide stock shelter, enhance biodiversity, improve water quality and reduce erosion.
The judges said Berriedale was an exemplary model of sustainable farming, with its combination of sheep production, forestry and the protection of native bush and wetlands.
Careful succession planning meant the next generation was enthusiastically developing this solid business, complete with its long-term focus on the environment and conservation. The judges praised Berriedale’s healthy pastures, excellent animal well-being and production.
“Their passion is contagious, meaning you come away from Berridale feeling excited about the opportunities for farming in New Zealand,” said the judges.
Byron and Amanda also won the following awards:
● Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
● Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
● Otago Regional Council Quality Water Enhancement Award
● NZ Farm Forestry Association (Otago): Farm Forestry Award
● Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
A Field Day will be held at Berriedale in the Spring.
Inaugural New Zealand Landcare Trust Catchment Group Award
A catchment group built on collaboration – WAI Wānaka – has won the inaugural New Zealand Landcare Trust Catchment Group Award.
In 2018, three aligned organisations merged to establish what has become WAI Wānaka – a group focused on empowering communities to understand their water, environment and impact.
It actively engages with almost 85% of the Upper Clutha catchment’s larger farms and involves more than 60 properties that are bigger than 20ha. WAI Wānaka has developed interconnected strategies and trained field crews to carry out such things as weed and animal pest control, planting, and biodiversity and freshwater monitoring.
The judges said the group’s careful planning provides a clear pathway which boosts community buy-in. Their approach considers the health and wellbeing of both urban and rural communities, and includes the upskilling of locals.
OTHER OTAGO BALLANCE FARM ENVIRONMENT AWARD WINNERS 2022:
● Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award: Amanda Currie (Owner), Jason Sutherland (Manager), Tinwald Farm
● Massey University Innovation Award: Tim, Anna, Brent & Bridget Craig, Bowalley Free Range
● Norwood Agri-Business Management Award: Amy & Victor Blaikie, Ben Annand
● WaterForce Wise with Water Award: Tim, Anna, Brent & Bridget Craig, Bowalley Free Range