Omakau farming couple win regional supreme award

Outstanding in their field ... Anna and Ben Gillespie are the winners of this year’s Otago...
Outstanding in their field ... Anna and Ben Gillespie are the winners of this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Omakau farmers Ben and Anna Gillespie have been named regional supreme winners in the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, no awards function could be held and the winners were announced online last night.

Over the past two years, Mr and Mrs Gillespie have diversified into beef finishing to complement the original dairy grazing business on the 360ha effective farm.

Judges said their team approach added to their individual strengths and the result was a highly productive business that looked to the future, while still achieving a work-life balance with family at its core.

They were commended for preventing negative environmental impacts. Their farming operation includes buffer zones, precision irrigation and a ‘‘right pasture, right time, right place’’ philosophy.

Environmental improvements included the establishment of two new wetlands and an on-site nursery to grow native plants for riparian planting.

‘‘This is an extremely well-run farm, with healthy pastures and a high level of animal care, resulting in excellent animal health and production. Celebrating their farm as the heart of family life, they share their passion for farming with their children and take pride in returns on investment such as great crops and healthy stock.’’

The judges commended the couple’s business planning and high level of community involvement.

They will compete against the other 10 regional supreme winners for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy. The winner of the national award will be announced at a later date.

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