Former Supreme Winner Leads Judging Team for Ballance Farm Environment Awards


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King Country farmer Andrea Hanna has been appointed National Judging Co-ordinator for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

Andrea has been a keen supporter of the Awards programme for over 15 years.

“Farmers learn from farmers, so the Awards are an excellent vehicle for spreading knowledge on sustainability,” she says.

She initially became involved as a judge for the Waikato BFEA in 2000 after she and husband Brian won the region’s Supreme Award in 1999. At the time they were farming a 520ha sheep and beef farm at Mahoenui, south of Piopio.

In 2004 she was appointed BFEA judging coordinator for the Waikato region. She is also secretary of the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, the organisation which administers the BFEA.

NZFE chairman Simon Saunders says the in-depth knowledge and experience Andrea has gained through her lengthy involvement with the Waikato BFEA will serve her well in her new role. 

“She’s got excellent communication skills, and her thorough understanding of the BFEA judging process will be invaluable when it comes to ensuring our judging coordinators around the country get the best training and support available.” 

Simon Saunders says NZFE Trust has committed more resources to help its judging teams deliver the best standard of judging.

“The key reason most farmers enter this competition is because they want high quality feedback from the judges. Andrea and her team will make sure they get that.”

Originally from Canterbury, Andrea and Brian farmed in Northland before purchasing the Mahoenui farm in 1988.  They sold that farm in 2008 and moved to a smaller block at Rangitoto, near Te Kuiti, where they breed rams and graze dairy heifers. Andrea says they run “a simple system” that enables them to get off farm to tend to their other commitments, which for Brian includes being Mayor for the Waitomo District.

Andrea officially started in her new role on Feb 1, 2015.

With ten regions now participating in the annual competition, the job of National Judging Coordinator has become increasingly complex.

“The aim is to set up good communication between the regions so that we can assist the regional judging coordinators to get the very best out of their roles.”

Simon Saunders says Andrea’s involvement with the BFEA programme has helped her build a strong network of contacts.

“One of her biggest challenges will be ensuring the judging teams can provide entrants with the latest information on what it takes to achieve best farming practice in an era where environmental regulations are ever-changing.” 

Simon says Andrea will build on the outstanding work performed by previous National Judging Coordinator Jamie Strang, “who put a huge amount of time and effort into lifting the quality of the BFEA judging process”

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