Farmers’ heartfelt example
Former South Waikato mayor Gordon Blake has been named as one of the region’s best farmers when it comes to consideration for the environment.
Mr Blake, his wife, Pamela, their son Grant and daughter-in-law Lindsay, of Waiomou Valley Farms, yesterday won the supreme award at the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The partnership, described by judges as an excellent example of inter-generational sustainability both environmentally and businesswise, collected the supreme award at a ceremonial dinner held at the Don Rowlands Centre at Lake Karapiro after winning the LIC Dairy Farm Award.
Mr Blake said he and the family, were ‘‘pretty humbled’’ by the win because they had gone up against some high-calibre people.
‘‘It came as a complete surprise to my whole family,’’ he said.
The 186-hectare farm, which sustains 530 cows, won the awards after the family retired steep faces of the rolling-to-steep-contoured farm, protecting soil structure, and protecting and enhancing bush and wetland areas.
Twenty hectares of the farm are no good for grazing cows because they are either too steep or too wet.
The Blakes have done extensive fencing and tracking work on the farm, and in 2009 built a new 50-bail rotary milking shed.
The family’s philosophy, said the judges, was ‘‘prudent investment and safe growth, within an environmentally sustainable framework’’ delivered through Lindsay Blake’s experience as a chartered accountant.
Her strict financial control and analysis were praised, by judges, who said it was one of the best they had seen on a dairy farm.
The judges said the Blakes’ passion for the dairy industry and the community around them was ‘‘highly commendable and rarely seen these days’’.
Winning family: From left, Lindsay Blake, Grant Blake, Gordon Blake and Pamela Blake won the Supreme Award at the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.