Farmers scaling industry challenges

Mid Canterbury farmers, from left, Sarah Hayman, Paul Everest, Jocelyn Everest, and Phillip Everest are entrants in the 2022 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Entrant.

Mid Canterbury farmers Phillip and Jocelyn Everest along with Paul Everest and Sarah Hayman have been named among the 2022 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Entrants in Canterbury.

The farming couples have dairy and beef production interests on their Flemington Farm, and have been named alongside four other Canterbury farmers; Geoff and Rochelle Spark (of Eyrewell), Jo and Lachie McKenzie, and Matt and Claire Smith with Boyd Macdonald (all of Kurow).

The awards are run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and trust chairwoman Joanne van Polanen said the trust was “thrilled to have received a range of excellent entries from across the country for this year’s awards.

“It shows that despite all of the disruptions to business and life in general, farmers and growers across New Zealand are committed to environmentally sustainable practices. We are thrilled to be able to recognise and share their stories.”

The entrants range across the dairy, sheep and beef sectors.

The Everests have expanded their Flemington property since 1989 to the 255ha effective farm it is today, developing a sustainable dairy and beef farm balancing the needs of people, animals, economics and the environment.

In 2010, they developed the property into a dairy farm and now milk 750 cows on a predominantly pasture-based system. When they established the 225ha milking platform that year, the best technology of the day was incorporated considering both labour and the environment.

The goal was to have one person in the shed each milking, minimise water use and treat effluent as a fertiliser.

With environmental sustainability at the core of this family business, they have successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen loss and have established more than 20km of shelter and riparian plantings.

The Everests are also involved in several catchment and district initiatives that are largely focused on improving the environment.

The awards, due to start this month, have been moved until June and July to ensure the covid protection of staff, entrants and judges.