It's All Go For Farm Environment Awards
Within just a few days, entries will be open in all seven Ballance Farm Environment Awards regions running an awards programme for 2003-2004.
In some regions entries have already been open for two or three weeks and regional co-ordinators report "strong and steady" interest from farmers keen to show the ways in which they are using good environmental practices to the benefit of their farms.
"When entries open in Otago on November 1, we're all go in every region," says national co-ordinator Chris Keeping.
She says one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved with the farm environment awards is the enthusiasm and commitment from everyone involved, from the sponsors, to the regional coordinators, to the judges to the entrants themselves.
"The awards programme recognises the work of people on the land demonstrating that sustainable farming practices can make good business sense as well as being good for the land. It has gone from strength to strength since it was conceived in Waikato 13 years ago.
"We now have awards in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Manawatu/Wanganui Canterbury, Otago and Southland. In each region there is a local co-ordinator and management committee as well as a judges' co-ordinator."
Ms Keeping says the level of support from the farming community has resulted in contributions of time and skills from some very experienced people within the industry.
"We attracted more than 150 entries across five regions last year and with seven regions this year, expect interest and participation to be even higher."
While there are significant tangible rewards for those receiving awards in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the emphasis is not on prizes, Ms Keeping says.
"People who are successful in these awards take home more than a prize. They take home the respect of their peers and the knowledge they are contributing to the ongoing health and wealth of New Zealand's farming land."
Principal sponsor Ballance Agri-Nutrients is joined in supporting the Farm Environment Awards by ANZ, Wrightsons, PPCS, Richmonds, Livestock Improvement Corporation and Gallagher Group.
The awards are also supported by Environment Waikato, the Wellington Regional Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and Environment Canterbury.