Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Tim and Nicola Hewitt are proud of the environmental work on their family’s 724ha (640ha effective) property south of Pahiatua. While they were initially reluctant to enter the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, they are glad they finally gave it a go.
“We didn’t want to be seen as blowing our own trumpet,” says Tim.
“But ultimately I think farmers have a responsibility to our industry to show that we are trying to do a good job when it comes to the environment.”
The Hewitts entered their 6700 stock unit operation, Balfour Farm, into the 2016 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), which proved to be a highly worthwhile experience.
On Awards night the Hewitt family and their staff members enjoyed mixing with other like-minded entrants and they were thrilled to pick up two category awards, including the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award.
Tim says this was great recognition for the family and staff.
Judges said Tim and Nicola demonstrated a great understanding of “how to manage the resources in a sustainable manner so that future generations will still be able to farm”. They also commended the couple’s commitment to water quality, their strong intergenerational thinking and robust business growth strategy.
Tim says he is very proud of his family’s efforts to protect the environment.
“I don’t think we are the greatest farmers by any means, but I can look anyone in the eye and say I am trying to do as much as I can to improve.”
He says the BFEA judging process was a stimulating experience.
“Knowing that the judges, including our farming peers and past Award-winners, are visiting the farm really makes you think hard about what you are trying to achieve.
“The whole process was very well done. The judges made us feel relaxed and we enjoyed talking to them about what we were doing on the farm.”
Tim was happy to win the Agri-Business Management Award because he enjoys the business side of farming and puts a lot of work into improving the long-term sustainability of the operation.
Succession planning is another focus, one which he regards as “a positive and exciting challenge”.
“Nicola and I are very appreciative of what our family has done for us and we hope to do the same for the next generation. We’ve got four children and we enjoy bringing them into the discussion.”
The Hewitts were glad they entered the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
“I think it’s a good thing for our industry so the more people who support it, the better.
If you are considering entering, give it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose.”
Entries for the 2017 Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on September 16, 2016. It costs nothing to enter and entry forms are available online at www.nzfeatrust.org.nz