Farm awards to initiate environmental change

The van Ras family from Morrinsville were this year’s Regional Supreme Winners of the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Entries are now open for the 2022 Ballance Farm Environmental Awards and this year’s Waikato winners are encouraging farmers to embrace the opportunity to learn.

Earlier this year the van Ras family of Morrinsville were named the 2021 Regional Supreme Winners of the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Johan van Ras says entering was a chance to have an honest look at where their Morrinsville dairy farm was at and seek the judges’ advice.

“They are real experts and you can ask them anything. How often do you get to have free advice like that? The awards are a great opportunity to learn and we all need to be in that mindset at the moment, with the way things are going environmentally around the world and customers’ perspectives, so why not get on the front foot?”

Johan says there’s never a perfect time to enter such competitions and the judging process is friendly and supportive.

“It’s not intimidating and you get to compare yourself with other farmers who are similar minded and see what they’ve done which is really cool.”

The annual awards, run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust, help promote sustainability through good farming practice. All participants receive feedback to support them on their sustainability journey and this year entrants will also get free access to Farmax to analyse their greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation options.

Farmax is joining the Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a new partner. All award entrants will receive a free Farmax analysis using the greenhouse gas and sequestration features in FARMAX 8.1.

This year the NZ Farm Environment Trust is also launching a new Catchment Group Award nationwide in partnership with NZ Landcare Trust. It is designed to showcase and celebrate the great work being done by catchment groups throughout the country.

“The new Catchment Group Award recognises the efforts of a rural community working together to improve water quality in local rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands,” says NZ Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen. “This new initiative is designed to celebrate the efforts of catchment groups and help inspire other rural communities with examples of good practice.”

The NZ Landcare Trust Catchment Group Award will be open to catchment groups from all 11 regions in which the Ballance Farm Environment Awards operate.

Farmers, growers and catchment groups are encouraged to visit: to find out more and enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Entries close in mid-October.

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