Sustainability is key for winning farmers

Byron Vollweiler and Amanda Snow from Berriedale in Outram. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Byron Vollweiler and Amanda Snow from Berriedale in Outram. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Byron Vollweiler and Amanda Snow from Berriedale in Outram, have been named 2022 regional supreme winners in the Otago Farm Environment Awards.

Run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the awards highlight sustainable farming and growing.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards were announced at a function held at Orokonui Ecosanctuary last night.

Owned by the Vollweiler family since 1953, Berriedale has grown to 1100ha. Sheep graze across 800ha, while 200ha is planted in productive trees and a further 100ha is regenerating native bush and wetlands.

Tree planting is carefully matched to soil type to ensure the best return from the land.

As well as forestry production, the trees generate social and economic value through carbon sequestration, generating 20% of the farm’s income. They also provide shelter for stock, enhance biodiversity, improve water quality and reduce erosion.

The judges said Berriedale was an exemplary model of sustainable farming, with its combination of sheep production, forestry and the protection of native bush and wetlands.

Careful succession planning meant the next generation was enthusiastically developing this solid business, complete with its long-term focus on the environment and conservation. The judges praised Berriedale’s healthy pastures, excellent animal well-being and production.

The couple also won in five other categories: Soil Management Award; Agri-science Award; Quality Water Enhancement Award; Farm Forestry Award and Livestock Farm Award.

A field day will be held at Berriedale in the spring.

A catchment group built on collaboration — Wai Wanaka — has won the inaugural catchment group award.

In 2018, three aligned organisations merged to establish what has become Wai Wanaka — a group focused on empowering communities to understand their water, environment and impact. It actively engages with almost 85% of the Upper Clutha catchment’s larger farms and involves more than 60 properties that are bigger than 20ha.

Wai Wanaka has developed interconnected strategies and trained field crews to carry out such things as weed and animal pest control, planting, and biodiversity and freshwater monitoring.

At a glance

Ballance Farm Environment Award winners 2022.—

Regional Supreme Winners: Byron Vollweiler and Amanda Snow, Berriedale

People in Primary Sector Award: Amanda Currie (owner), Jason Sutherland (manager), Tinwald Farm

Innovation Award: Tim, Anna, Brent and Bridget Craig, Bowalley Free Range

Agri-Business Management Award: Amy and Victor Blaikie, Ben Annand

Wise with Water Award: Tim, Anna, Brent and Bridget Craig, Bowalley Free Range

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter