No Room for Complacency in Farm Environment Trusts Plans


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The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust is gearing up for another big year as it strives to help farmers face the challenges of the future.

NZFE recently released its annual report, which is available from the Trust’s website at

Speaking at the Trust’s Annual Meeting in October, NZFE chairman Alistair Polson (pictured) said 2013 was a very successful year for the Trust’s flagship enterprise, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

Regional and national BFEA competitions, ceremonies and field days continue to be popular and well supported, he said.

Another highlight for the Trust was the addition of the Taranaki region for 2014, bringing the number of regions involved in the BFEA competition to ten.

“We hope to include the remaining regions in future.”

But despite the ongoing success of the BFEA and the Trust’s other activities, Mr Polson said there is no room for complacency. New Zealand farming faces major challenges, and the aims and objectives of the Trust have never been more pertinent.

“The scrutiny from our customers and our community continues, as does our ability to measure the impact farming activities have on the land.

“Regional and environmental groups have legitimate concerns about intensive farming’s footprint. It is up to agriculture and horticulture to meet the reasonable concerns of these groups. Our BFEA contestants prove this can be done.”

Mr Polson said a key role for the competition is to showcase the work of practical farmers and provide examples that can be followed by others.

He said the awards provide a platform for “farmers to demonstrate to other farmers and the community what sustainable farming looks like”.

The Trust has also run a number of other successful programmes for farmers throughout the year, including the Building Dairy Environment Leaders programme and the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Environmental Leadership Forum. The development of an alumni association for past Supreme winners is also under discussion.

Another highlight was the National Sustainability Showcase in June. Held in Hamilton, this event was attended by 400 guests, including 60 past Supreme winners. The National Winner of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards was announced at the Showcase, with Canterbury couple Craige and Roz Mackenzie taking home the prestigious Gordon Stephenson trophy.

Mr Polson said the Trust’s success is built on the dedication of staff and volunteers and a committed family of sponsors and strategic partners.

He also paid tribute to the “passionate” leadership of his predecessor, Jim Cotman.

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

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, .

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