Meeting other entrants and finding out about the work everyone else was doing were highlights of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Waikato finalists Peter and Karen West.
The Weirs were finalists in this year’s Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards and went on to win the LIC Dairy Award and the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award for the region.
“You show a group of people around your farm and they give you feedback about whether or not they think you’re heading on the right track. It’s not biased… just as they see it on the day,” says Weir.
“We definitely encourage people to enter. You’ll be surprised what you end up with and what you get out of it. It’s well worthwhile.”
Springmount Farms is an intergenerational dairy business run by the Weirs on mostly flat central Taranaki land. The total area is 200ha and 520 cows were peak milked this season on the 150ha milking platform at Toko, east of Stratford.
John and Roslyn have two children, Nathan (22) and Ashleigh (20). John’s great-grandfather, also John, began farming the original 55ha block in 1916. John and Roslyn have been in charge since 1996.
The Weirs won a Century Farm award in Lawrence, Otago, in May. Their family farm has grown gradually with every generation buying a neighbouring property. They aim to continue the family legacy and keep everything “together and in the family,” Weir says.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done over time. Our family has been here for so long.”
As first-time entrants, the Weirs had no expectations going into the awards but were rapt to win. They had attended the awards dinner the previous year as a guest of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, which was valuable preparation, then attended the supreme winner’s field day this year.
Weir says they enjoyed showing their farm to the judges.
“It’s interesting to get feedback from someone totally unconnected to your business,” he says.
And the judging was a good process to go through, “like a reverse interview, and interesting as we only had a short timeframe to tell them about the business. We had a couple of small points in the feedback report we needed to address in more depth but there were no surprises.”