Organisers of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) say this year's programme will proceed despite interruptions caused by Covid.
The new award, which is supported by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and NZ Landcare Trust, is designed to commend catchment groups and the work they do across New Zealand.
“It’s a natural fit between two not-forprofit organisations partnering to support farmers and celebrate the efforts of rural communities working together to drive environmental improvements,” James Ryan, general manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust told Rural News.
The award is open to catchment groups from all eleven regions in which the awards operate.
Ryan says that aside from the new honour, other awards on the programme have been updated “to ensure that it aligns with the latest sector thinking around good practice”.
He says the new criteria have been tested with both farming and rural professionals and the trust believes participants will be provided with clear guidelines of the assessment framework.
On the subject of potential winners, Ryan says the judges are looking particularly for innovation.
“We cater for farmers and growers at all stages of their sustainability journey and encourage people to get involved regardless of where they see themselves on this journey. To be successful in winning an award we expect to see examples of innovation and a commit- ment to stewardship,” he explains.
A new partnership with Farmax will see award entrants receive Farmax analysis, including greenhouse gas emissions numbers and mitigation options.
“Farmax is thrilled to be supporting the awards which showcase some of the country’s most sustainable and profitable farmers,” says Farmax chief executive Gavin McEwen.
“The awards align with the core belief of Farmax, which is that profitable and productive farms are not mutually exclusive from sustainable ones,” McEwen adds.