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Is the world getter faster or am I just getting older?

There are a myriad of challenges facing rural communities at the moment. This makes it all the more important for us to pause and reflect on the achievements of Aotearoa’s amazing food and fibre producers.  

I recently attended a seminar where the Minister of Agriculture talked about New Zealand’s farmers and growers striving to be the most sustainable in the world, and the best for the world. This struck a chord with me as we’re consistently inspired by the stories we come across.  

Judging is well underway on the properties of this year’s crop of entrants for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. In the new year, I’m looking forward to meeting some of the passionate farmers and growers that use the awards programme to help them on their sustainability journey.   

In light of the pace of change affecting us all, we have started a review of the Trust’s strategy. We’re keen to involve you in this process and are looking at how we can gather your views – so watch this space. 

Meanwhile, planning for next year’s awards functions is underway in earnest and we hope you can join us for a great night – event dates are listed below. Held throughout the country, the functions are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate, share ideas and network with like-minded people.   

I hope you have a great Christmas break that gives you the chance to reflect on the positive outcomes that you and the rest of the primary sector have achieved this year.


James Ryan

General Manager
New Zealand Farm Environment Trust
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Save the date - award ceremonies

We hope you can join us for your region's special evening where we celebrate some of our amazing farmers and growers, plus announce winners of the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Tickets will be on sale soon. Click here for more information.
  • East Coast: Wed 4 March
  • Greater Wellington: Thu 5 March
  • Canterbury: Wed 11 March
  • Waikato: Wed 18 March
  • Horizons: Thu 19 March
  • Auckland: Wed 25 March
  • Northland: Thu 26 March
  • Otago: Thu 2 April
  • Southland: Fri 3 April
  • Taranaki: Tue 7 April
  • National Sustainability Showcase: Thu 4 June

Connecting urban and rural Kiwis

We're proud to be backing next year’s inaugural Open Farms – a movement to reconnect urban and rural Kiwis through a nationwide Open Farm Day on Sunday 1 March. 

These events are a great way to give Kiwis a genuine on-farm experience where they can connect with the people and places growing our food and fibre. If you’re keen to host an Open Farms event, please visit their website and sign up.

Update on Adrian and Pauline Ball

This year’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing, Adrian and Pauline Ball, are currently in Europe as part of their study tour funded by the Trust. We’re looking forward to hearing their insights when they return. In the meantime, hear their views on the benefits of getting involved in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in this great video from the team at Norwood.

A guide to farm investment 

In light of ongoing regulatory reforms, Rabobank has prepared a useful report on how future agriculture-sector investment will need to account for new environmental constraints. Read a summary here or – for the full report – please contact Rabobank on 0800 500 933. 

Cross-sector sharing for alumni

As we approach the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, we checked in with past national ambassadors Craige and Roz Mackenzie to see how the experience affected them. 
 
The Methven arable farmers were declared National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing in 2013 and Roz says there were three main benefits: raising the profile of their precision farming approach; providing them with a platform to share how they work; and meeting farmers from other sectors. 

The Mackenzies’ Methven property, Greenvale Pastures.

One of the key reasons they were chosen as national ambassadors was their focus on using resources as efficiently as possible through the use of new technologies and innovation. At that time, precision or ‘smart’ farming was not as mainstream as it is now, Roz says. 
 
“That’s where the awards came in – they helped raise the profile and reputation of what we were doing, giving it credibility. It gave us the platform to share what we do and how we farm.” 
 
The increased profile got them on the radar of a wide range of people including government officials, in turn leading to Craige representing the primary sector at international climate change forums and on national technical advisory groups.  
 
Meanwhile, over the past six years the Mackenzie’s have continued their upward trajectory of implementing new technologies on the farm. 

“We’re continually making incremental improvements to our management systems using precision agriculture based on science-led data,” Roz says. 
 
Meeting farmers from other farming sectors was another benefit of the awards, giving the Mackenzies a broader overview of the industry. 
 
“As farmers we tend to operate within our own sector and the awards were a great opportunity to meet new people from all over the country. We have made some really good friends and it’s quite incredible what you can learn from people who are farming in a different sector.” 

Get in touch

We love to talk, so if you'd like to have a chat or ask us a burning question, please email us or get in touch with one of our regional contacts by clicking a link:

Northland • Auckland • Waikato • Bay of Plenty • Taranaki • East Coast • Horizons • Greater Wellington • Canterbury • Otago • Southland

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