Former Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull has taken over as chairman of fertiliser co-op Balance.
Chief executive officer Pip Goodwin says the operation aims to be a leader in the production of high quality wine using the most sustainable methods possible.
“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave us a chance to be judged by our peers and find out what we could do to improve in future.”
After being involved in the Awards several years ago, Goodwin says entering the 2016 Awards helped Palliser Estate Wines “check we were still on the right track”.
And the judges confirmed this, awarding the operation three category awards, including the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award. This award recognises excellent crop, pasture and soil management while taking into consideration the effects the farming system has on the land resource now and in the long term.
Judges says the Palliser Estate Wines team demonstrated an excellent understanding of crop genetics and water requirements for different varieties and soil types. They also noted the operation’s “focus on minimising the impact on the environment through the use of low impact sprays”.
Pip says winning the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award was very pleasing “because growing good grape crops is our core business”.
She says being involved in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a positive experience for the operation, which is always looking for ways to evolve.
“Sustainability is a journey. It’s not like you wake up one day and go ‘hey we’re sustainable now.’ and you can stop working on any initiatives. We need to keep finding new ways of making our environment better.”
As a winery, the operation differs significantly to the sheep, beef and dairying businesses involved in the Awards. But Pip says the Palliser Estate team enjoyed mixing with people from a range of different industries on Awards night.
“It was inspiring to see what others are doing to improve sustainability on their farms and orchards. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in: we are all selling product offshore and doing our best to show our customers that our products are produced in an environmentally-friendly way.”
Being acknowledged by the judges of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards was good for the winery’s profile within the local community and may also help with international marketing because it shows that the business is trying to do the right thing, Pip says.
She encourages other viticulture, horticulture and agricultural operations to enter the Awards.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn something that will help you improve your business in the long term.”
Entries for the 2017 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on October 31, 2016. It costs nothing to enter and entry forms are available online at www.nzfeatrust.org.nz