The Ballance Farm Environment Awards has launched a new Catchment Group Award as part of its 2021 awards programme.
Jeff Martin and Helen Linssen, Te Karoa Farms in Kaeo, are telling farmers and growers taking part in an "incredible experience".
Helen Linssen says their motivation to enter the awards was to highlight how much work goes on behind the scenes in farming, and to put their local community on the map.
"We'd developed the property using 18-30 years of knowledge. It was a blank canvas, and we were careful to future proof and take in mind the environmental footprint as we worked.
"We wanted to show the public the engine room, the behind the scenes! It also felt like we were showing leadership in our community and putting a spotlight on Kaeo."
Helen encourages other businesses to enter the awards, even if they don't think they're doing anything extraordinary.
"A lot of the time, people are already doing great things, they just don't realise what they're doing is great! Entering these awards really made us realised how much of what we were doing was taking us in the right direction."
Robin Nitschke, a keen committee member and winner of several of the awards in 2018 also highlight the benefit to businesses to have an independent judge give feedback on your property.
"I knew it would have a big benefit for us, our business was assessed from a fresh set of eyes.
"The report came through and we hadn't picked up on a few of the comments and we made improvements. It was really valuable having your operation assessed by independent people. It was also great promotion for our orchard and business and so valuable for ongoing growth."
Entries are now open for the 2021 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
All farmers and horticulturists, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists within the geographic area covered by the Northland Regional Council are eligible to enter until October 15. The first round of judging takes place in November.