Farm­ers’ heart­felt ex­am­ple

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

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.

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