Dairy farmers take enviro award

Canterbury farmers Mark and Devon Slee have won the national winner title in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Mark and Devon Slee have won the national winner title in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Their win was announced at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch when the Gordon Stephenson trophy was presented to the couple by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The Slees were chosen from the 10 regional Supreme winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Among those winners were Rick Burke and Jan Loney of Pukekauri Farms, Katikati, who say taking part in the national event was a fantastic experience.

“We met great people, who are hardworking smart farmers and we’ve made some great friends,” says Jan who with Rick farms on a 350ha drystock property in the foothills of the Kaimai Ranges.

Mark and Devon’s award winning business Melrose Dairy Limited, is based on 1014ha in the Ealing district, south of Ashburton. With a milking platform of 660ha, milking more than 2600 cows on three dairy units. The operation achieves outstanding production and is an industry leader in profitability.

NZFE acting chair Simon Saunders said the Slees will be great ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture.

“Mark and Devon possess the outstanding communication and leadership skills necessary to spread the sustainability message to both a national and international audience.”

The Slees were chosen from an exemplary group of regional winners.

“All of the Supreme winners demonstrated a huge amount of passion and commitment – not just for their own farming businesses but for New Zealand agriculture as a whole.”

The National Sustainability Showcase celebrates the contribution agriculture makes to the New Zealand economy and highlights farmers’ efforts to find better ways to manage the complex farming systems they work with.

Entries for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open soon.


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