The countdown has begun to find the next Supreme Bay of Plenty Ballance Environmental farmers.

Facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, the awards promote best-practice land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

Open to all farming and horticultural types, the 2016 awards will be held in 11 regions, with Auckland joining the competition for the first time.

Trust national judging co-ordinator Andrea Hanna said every farmer, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, should enter.


"Most people enter because they want high quality feedback on how their farming operation stacks up in terms of environmental and economic sustainability," she said.

The judging process is conducted in a relaxed manner, and judges always take climatic factors into account.

Mrs Hanna said the competition offered an educational opportunity for any farmer wanting to learn more about how to improve business profitability and environmental management. Past-entrants had described their participation as a worthwhile experience.

The awards cover a wide range of categories, so farmers who are performing well in one specific area have a chance of picking up a category award.

Supreme winners from each region are honoured at the trust's annual Sustainability Showcase, where the Gordon Stephenson Trophy is presented to a national winner.

This year, the trophy and national winner title went to Bay of Plenty's John and Catherine Ford, who urge all farmers to enter the 2016 competition.

"We need to promote our industry by providing examples of the things farmers are doing to care for the environment," Mr Ford said.

The Fords said the judging process was educational and inspirational.