Kaeo farmers Jeff Martin and Helen Linssen have been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winners in the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one regional supreme winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved.

All regional supreme winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of the national award to be announced later this year.

A commitment to quality and waterway management established Northland regional winners Jeff and Helen as industry leaders, while their beef farming approach is successful in terms of both live weight gains and sustainability.


The judges said they are walking the talk - running a successful, modern farming business tailored well to Northland conditions, plus generously sharing their time and experience throughout the wider industry.

"We were inspired by their commitment to research, planning and implementation of a whole farm system, carefully designed around financially and environmentally sustainable production," the judges said.

"Climate resilience and adaptation is built into the business, with an emphasis on water security, soil protection, land retirement and planting suited to the land capability.''

The Far North business is run across three properties, with the success of their management plan reflected in the amount and quality of pasture. GPS mapping divides the properties into grazing cells, allowing stock to be moved regularly and have long winter rotations. The judges commended the creation of generous riparian buffers, along with biodiversity protection and enhancement.

"Jeff and Helen's commitment to their farming business, community, staff and wider industry are exemplary."

The pair specialise in beef bull production, managing three independent blocks in Kaeo, with a combined farm of 484 hectares, including 307ha effective.

The three blocks have been acquired at different times over the past 19 years, and all have unique features and challenges. With steep hill sections looking over Otangaroa Valley, and predominantly rolling pastures, the three blocks include a combined 80ha of native bush and 34ha in fenced off rivers, wetlands, gullies and watercourses.

As well the regional supreme award, the couple's Te Karoa Farms operation also received several others.


2020 award winners.
NZME Emerging Land-Based Business Award - Bella Vacca Jerseys.
Northland Regional Council Water Quality Enhancement Award - Te Karoa Farms.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award - Marsden Estate.
Norwood Agri-Business Management Award - Te Karoa Farms.
DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award - Prospark Farms Ltd.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award - Te Karoa Farms.
Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award - Te Karoa Farms.
Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award - Marsden Estate
Synlait Climate Stewardship Award - Te Karoa Farms
Massey University Innovation Award - Prospark Farms Ltd
WaterForce Wise with Water Award - Te Karoa Farms.