Strath Taieri farmers Andrew and Lynnore Templeton are the winners of this year's Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Mr and Mrs Templeton, who farm The Rocks Station, a 2875ha sheep and beef property near Middlemarch, received the award at a function in Dunedin last week.
The judges noted the couple's operation was thriving against a challenging environmental backdrop.
"The Templetons are well on their way to being a financially and environmentally sustainable world-class farming business," they said.
There was a productive and profitable sheep flock of merinos and halfbreds, which were in excellent condition, and good genetics and innovative breeding were used.
Mr Templeton had a strong passion for wool and that was a key component in their sheep breeding efforts and impressive returns, which included 40,000kg in annual wool production.
The Templetons had established breeding policies to introduce specific genes and maintain hybrid vigour and, through diversification of stock classes, they had increased income.
Significant work had been undertaken to improve the business, including 150ha of irrigation, 100ha of reseeding and 40km of fencing, some of which had been introduced to exclude stock from the Taieri River.
The judges commended a solid recording system for nutrient management while the couple were looking at ways to enhance and plant biodiversity on-farm.
They had a comprehensive animal health plan and Mrs Templeton contributed her comprehensive knowledge on animal health and parasitology gained from previous work experience.
An electronic solar panel system on the woolshed supplemented the farmhouse and woolshed electricity.
In entering the awards, Mr and Mrs Templeton said they had worked very hard to get the farm "up and running".
Now they wanted to focus more on the environmental aspects.
"By entering the awards, we are able to get the help and direction we need to make good decisions and implement the right things."
As well as winning the supreme award, the couple also won the Massey University innovation award, Norwood agri-business management award and Beef + Lamb New Zealand livestock farm award.
Other award winners were:
• Tim and Kirsten O'Sullivan (Ballance Agri-Nutrients soil management award, Hill Laboratories agri-science award and WaterForce integrated management award).
• Mathew and Catherine Korteweg (Bayleys people in primary sector award).
• Stephen and Annabel Crawford (DairyNZ sustainability and stewardship award and Otago Regional Council quality water management award).
• Dennis and Margaret Larsen (New Zealand Farm Forestry Association Otago farm forestry award).
Mr and Mrs Templeton will represent Otago at the National Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on June 6.