Farm Environment Trust Plans Ahead


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The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust is preparing for another busy decade as it strives to help farmers face the challenges of the future.

Addressing the 2016 annual meeting on October 31, NZFE Trust chairman Simon Saunders said the relevance of the Trust and and its flagship event, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), could not be greater.

“It’s critical that the farmer’s voice is heard. The BFEA programme is continually doing this through entrants and award-winning farmers showcasing what they are achieving, and by sharing the knowledge ideas and skills that will drive better environmental, economic and social outcomes for New Zealand’s most important sector.”

NZFE Trust has released its 2016 annual report, which is available on the Trust’s website at

Mr Saunders said the BFEA had enjoyed another successful year. Regional and national Awards programmes, ceremonies and field days remain popular and well supported, and media coverage of award-winning farmers continues to grow.

Last year’s Gordon Stephenson trophy recipients, Bay of Plenty farmers John and Catherine Ford, have been “wonderful ambassadors” for the primary sector. At a highly successful National Showcase in Northland in June, the Fords passed on the Gordon Stephenson trophy to Richard and Dianne Kidd, who were Supreme winners of the inaugural Auckland BFEA.

While the Awards have grown considerably over the last decade, with eleven regions now participating in the BFEA programme, the Trust is planning ahead to ensure the next ten years are as successful as the last. Mr Saunders said an independent review commissioned by the Trust had “highlighted many opportunities to strengthen the BFEA programme, get more farmers involved and ensure entrants are enriched by the experience”.

He acknowledged the crucial support of the Trust’s strategic partners and sponsors and the dedication of the Trust’s management staff and its army of volunteers throughout the country.

He thanked retiring Trustees Jim Hitchcock and David Cameron for their significant and lengthy contribution to the Trust and their respective regional Awards programmes.

Tribute was also paid to General Manager David Natzke, who is stepping down after ten years with the organisation.

In his final address in the annual report, Mr Natzke said over the last decade a lot of development work has gone into positioning the Trust and the BFEA as “highly respected businesses”.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with a whole host of very talented, dedicated and visionary people and their support has been invaluable.”

A copy of NZFE Trust’s annual report and audited accounts, along with comments from past-competition entrants, is available from NZFE Trust’s website at


For more information, contact; Simon Saunders, chairman, NZFE Trust, phone 021 388 544 or email or James Ryan, General Manager, NZFE Trust, phone 027 324 5517 or email

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