DINZ Environment Award Winners

DINZ Environment Award Winners

Central Hawke’s Bay couple Evan and Linda Potter have won the Premier Elworthy Environment Award in the deer industry’s 2019 environmental awards.

The announcement came just moments after winning the NZ Landcare Trust Award for excellence in sustainable deer farming through action on the ground.

The Potters bought the 640-hectare Waipapa Station at Elsthorpe 20 years ago and were praised by the award judges for the work they had done to improve the property and enhance its environmental performance in that time.

A bush-clad gully placed into a QEII covenant with strong support from the QEII Trust and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is one of the most visible and attractive aspects of the Potters’ contribution, but the award judges commended much other work besides, including carefully planned nutrient management and protection of waterways.

Extensive use of willows and poplars has helped prevent soil erosion and the couple have also been careful to identify critical source areas in an effort to protect water quality.

The judges said building a thorough knowledge of soils on the property had helped the Potters develop an excellent fit of stock class to land.

Central Otago deer farmers John and Mary Falconer received two environment awards: the Duncan New Zealand Award for vision and innovation while mastering a demanding environment and the Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award for excellent utilisation of farming technologies to improve productivity and manage resources.

The Falconers have a wide range of deer-based business streams, including venison and velvet production, trophy hunting and genetics. In particular, the award judges commended their efforts to manage water quality and quantity in Central Otago’s low-rainfall environment. They were also praised for their extensive pest control work, protecting both biodiversity and the business.

Adam and Sharon Waite, who manage the intensive finishing farm Northbank Station near Dunsandel in Canterbury, also won two awards: the Firstlight Foods Award for total commitment to farming sustainably with a strong customer focus and the NZ Deer Farmers’ Association Next Generation Award for outstanding performance across environmental, financial and social aspects of the business.

The Waites have been managing an extensive redevelopment on the property, featuring more water-efficient irrigation systems, improved pasture covers and new native shelterbelts and other plantings to provide shade. The judges commended the Waites for extensive use of documentation and recording based around the FarmIQ system.

Young South Canterbury couple Kiri Rupert and Josh Brook were highly commended by the judges for excellence in business planning, farm environment planning and farm succession.

Award entrants the Kinzett family, who farm for velvet production near Murchison, were acknowledged by the judges for the work they had done on fencing and shelterbelts, providing shade and shelter and screening stock classes to prevent deer from fence pacing.

Convenor of judges was Janet Gregory of NZ Landcare Trust. She said all those who entered for the awards were well-managed farms of a high standard, and to be commended for the work they had done to improve environmental outcomes.

The biennial Deer Farmers’ Environmental Awards were instigated by the late Sir Peter Elworthy at a deer industry conference in Queenstown in 2000, with the inaugural awards made the following year.