Mark and Felicity Brough have been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winners in the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Native birds have returned and water quality has improved since the Broughs took over Paerua about 20 years ago – reflecting their respect of land, animals, soil and water.
The Waitomo sheep and beef, breeding and store fattening farm runs about 170 weaner bulls and steer calves, and 2,150 sheep.
Native birds, fish and invertebrates are flourishing on the property, thanks to extensive planting around streams and ponds, and significant fencing of wetlands and drains.
Two large dams with wetland areas have been created and the couple is planning to fence off significant blocks of mature native bush. Poplar poles control erosion, almost all paddocks have water troughs, and beehives encourage clover growth.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust James Ryan about the Ballance Farm Environment awards below:
The judges said Paerua was an excellent example of farming within the capabilities of the land and that the Broughs were role models, both in terms of their farming systems and their commitment to biodiversity.
"With a complementary and synergistic partnership, Mark and Felicity have achieved consistently across all categories. They have a great practical, sensible and long-term approach to everyday farming," the judges said.
"At a national level, they provide practical guidance on water quality and biodiversity improvement. This will have far-reaching benefits for New Zealand farmers."
"They are involved in off-farm initiatives locally and nationally, with a highly commendable knowledge of central and local government policies."
The Broughs entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to demonstrate that sustainable farming is achievable, and how enjoyable the end-product is.
Watch their video on YouTube here.
As well as receiving this year's Supreme Regional Award, the Broughs also received the:
• Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
• Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards, which are run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme that 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 this national award to be announced at a later date.