Canterbury family wins high praise from judges

A Canterbury high country family farming enterprise contesting the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year has been praised for its vision and entrepreneurship.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson, of Balmoral Station, Lake Tekapo were runners-up in this year's awards.

Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker Peter Yealands won the award for 2013. He receives a $20,000 grant towards overseas travel for study, research, marketing or a combination of those.

The Yealands enterprise also won the Silver Fern Farms ''Plate to Pasture'' award for consumer awareness, and the Lincoln University award for best use of technology and innovation, receiving $5000 for each.

Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop said the winery stood out for its innovation, entrepreneurship and vision.

The Simpson family operation was also ''notable for its vision and entrepreneurship'', she said.

The family operation stood out for its extensive skill set, its business and governance structures, and international networking, Mrs Hyslop said.

''We had an outstanding group of finalists this year, all of a very high calibre,'' Lincoln University Foundation chairman Ben Todhunter said.

''They each in their way represented some of the best examples of the high performing, innovative leading-edge farming that is coming out of the South Island.''

North Canterbury dairy farmers Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin won the BNZ award for best human resource management, and the award for resource use efficiency.

Other finalists were; Southland sheep and beef farmers Neil and Philippa Gardyne, Roxburgh hill country farmers Trevor and Karen Peters, and Simon and Pip Todhunter, of Blenheim, who intensively farm Marlborough east coast hill country.