A Waikato couple have won a prestigious national award for environmental and sustainable farming.
Adrian and Pauline Ball of Dennley Farms in Tirau were announced as supreme winner of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards National at a gala function in Hamilton on Thursday night.
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The couple were one of eleven regional finalists vying for the national award, which celebrate and promote sustainable farming and growing practices.
Dennley Farms is a dairy, dairy beef and finishing farm aspiring to model low input, low footprint, high animal welfare values.
In winning the award, they will become the new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing, and are the 2019 recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.
The trophy is named in honour of Waikato farmer and noted conservationist, the late Gordon Stephenson, founder of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The national judging panel said Dennley Farms’ strong environmental, social and economic sustainability was a stand-out.
"The Balls demonstrate a deep understanding of all aspects of sustainability, taking a holistic approach to the triple bottom line as a base to build on other sustainable criteria, including consumer awareness, staff welfare, ethics and animal welfare," said Chair of the National Judging Panel Dianne Kidd.
"They have a vision and conviction that New Zealand needs to take sustainability seriously," she said.
"Adrian and Pauline are a strong team and will be excellent ambassadors for the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. They are passionate about sustainability and leading change by example."
The pair said their children were an inspiration for their farming philosophy.
"For our daughters to experience the awards has brought a deeper understanding of the sustainable journey our family has been on," they said.
"The awards have certainly made us both think a lot deeper into the future of our own business and what it would take to influence and help the pasture-based meat and dairy sectors grow consumer trust and ultimately grow value."