INDEPENDENT NEWS

Award Rewards Work of Previous Generations

Published: Wed 8 Oct 2008 04:22 PM
Farm Environment Award Rewards Work of Previous Generations
Entering the 2008 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards helped Drummond farmer Norman McLeish gain recognition for the efforts of his father and grandfather.
Norman and wife Helen run a 300ha cropping farm with the help of Norman’s father Peter. They won a PGG Wrightson Habitat Improvement Award this year for the preservation of wetlands on the Drummond farm and on a 60ha QEII covenanted block of coastal land at Waimatuku.
These wetlands provide an ideal habitat for native wildlife and migratory birds. The McLeishs have also planted significant areas of the farm with trees that include natives, alders, oaks, macrocarpa, pines and poplars.
Ballance Farm Environment Award judges noted the well fenced and maintained waterways on the farm and praised the McLeish’s careful monitoring of their cropping operation to minimise soil damage.
Norman says much of the wetland work was performed by his father and grandfather who shared a passion for duckponds and tree planting.
He saw entering the awards as a way to gain some recognition for this work and pick up information.
He says the judging process proved very enjoyable. “The judges weren’t there to pick holes in things. They just asked about what I was doing and why I was doing it and that discussion made me think hard about ways I could maybe do things better in future.”
He says the judges had a broad range of expertise and were happy to offer ideas. “It was a bit like having three or four farm consultants come to visit for free.”
Norman says he and Helen were very pleased to win the Habitat Improvement Award and they are glad they entered the competition.
“I’d certainly encourage other farmers to give it a go. It’s got to be worthwhile whether you win anything or not.”
Entries for the 2009 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on October 1.
ENDS

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