North Otago Sustainable Land Management (Noslam) members are on a high, after a day of judging for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards this month.
Noslam spokeswoman and Five Forks farmer Jane Smith said the group entered the 2021/22 awards in a new category specifically for catchment groups.
The competition was a good chance to showcase what the group was doing, and also use it as an opportunity to self› assess how far they had come, and where they were heading.
‘‘And that’s been really, really cool,’’ Mrs Smith said.
‘‘We were really pumped after our judging. It was pretty much a full day . . .and it was a fantastic team environment.’’
Noslam was one of three catchment groups to enter in the Otago region, and the results would not be known until June or July, when it was hoped it would be possible to hold a ‘‘showcase event’’, she said.
‘‘The other two are pretty major catchment groups . . .we just want to join with them in celebrating the great work that catchment groups are doing. So that’s pretty cool, and cool for Otago.’’
Judges were taken on a bus trip around the Waiareka Valley, where riparian plantings, which had taken place under the Noslam banner, together with schools and community groups, such as the Lions, were identified.
There was also a visit to Kent and Anna Spittle’s dairy farm.
‘‘Just to showcase practically what farmers, you know, Noslam members, are doing on their farms, and that was really good too, they were really impressed.
‘‘It was a busy day, but it was a pretty cool showcase.’’
Judging was a big task, but a great acknowledgement of work the whole community was doing, Mrs Smith said.
‘‘The judges, I believe, were pretty impressed in terms of what a small, voluntary run organisation can achieve. And it’s really been our partnerships that we have with North Otago Irrigation Company, Waitaki District Council, Otago Regional Council, and also the Lower Waitaki Irrigation, and McKenzie Co [accountant], but you know those partnerships have been really strong and they’ve really backed us all the way.’’