Farmers creating good working environment

Mt Somers farmers Michael and Nicky Salvesen’s progressive vision has seen them named finalists...
Mt Somers farmers Michael and Nicky Salvesen’s progressive vision has seen them named finalists in the 2020 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards. PHOTO SUPPLIED.
Former Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury provincial president Michael Salvesen and his wife, Nicky, are finalists in the 2020 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The awards are an annual event to celebrate good farm practices that promote sustainable land management. They are run in 11 regions throughout New Zealand.

The couple, who farm at Wakare — a breeding and finishing deer and beef cattle property at Mt Somers — are up against fellow Mt Somers beef/dairy/cropping farmers Richard and Chrissie Wright, of Tamar Farm, Ashburton dairy support farmers John Taylor, Brendon Stent and Aafke Huisman, of Rosebank-Landcorp Farming Pamu-Carew, Selwyn dairy farmers Tony Coltman and Dana Carver, of Canlac Holdings at Dunsandel, and Southbridge horticulturist Robin Oakley, of Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables Southbridge.

The Salvesens’ 1380ha effective property is made up of two blocks.

The main block runs calving cows and breeding bulls for dairy herds, deer for venison production and about 1000 lambs, which are finished annually.

The animals’ genetic measurements are tracked as the business strives to continually improve the stock quality.

The second block supports the main property, running dairy grazers and Wagyu beef.

It also gives capital protection and forms part of the farm’s succession planning.

Over the past 12 years, the Salvesens have made numerous improvements, including many relating to production and the environment. Among them is a native trees planting programme in which 1500 trees are being planted each year for the next 10 years.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust general manager James Ryan said the awards programme was a stimulating and informative opportunity to benchmark against other food and fibre producers in the region.

"The events celebrate everyone who entered — not just those who are eligible for awards — because all are worthy of being recognised for the great work being done on their farms and orchards," he said.

All entrants go through a judging process to consider the entire farm environment, particularly relating to sustainable profitability, environmental awareness, good business practices and social and community responsibility.

In getting a place in the finals, the Salvesens showed they had a progressive vision for the future and that guided their Canterbury beef and deer farm, enabling it to adapt to changing conditions and reducing its environmental footprint.

All the activities they undertake on farm are guided by an acute awareness of how those actions can affect the local and wider environment.

Canterbury’s category award winners and supreme regional winner will be announced at a function at the Rydges Latimer Christchurch on March 11.

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