2023 B+LNZ Award winners

image of 2023 award winners

Over 300 people attended the celebrations which recognised the people, the technologies and innovations that contribute so much to New Zealand’s world-leading red meat sector. 

Throughout the evening, the finalists of the eight award categories were introduced and winners announced. The Awards ceremony concluded with the presentation of the Regional Leadership Award.  

Meet the 2023 winners 

Ballance Science and Research Award

The Ballance Science and Research Award was the first to be presented and was won by the Low Methane Sheep Genetics Programme represented by AgResearch scientists Dr Suzanne Rowe and John McEwan. 

This Programme has led the world in the development of the world’s first livestock genetic selection tool for methane reduction. 

The award judges commented that this was world leading research and globally significant in its application for New Zealand sheep farming. 

They said the team’s vision and foresight to identify the future challenges for the sheep and beef industry and advocating for genetics research meant the research was underway when needed. As a result, the sheep industry had a genetics option available to help reduce on-farm methane emissions.  

Ballance Science & Research  Award winners

Datamars Livestock Technology Award

The Datamars Livestock Technology Award was won by Silver Farm Farms/Lynker Net Carbon Zero Mapping Tool. 

The award judges said that this mapping technology and associated processes provided a practical and cost-effective way to create a brand and reward farmers for their on-farm vegetation.  

The technology enabled farmers to capitalise on the vegetation on their farms while meeting consumer demand for red meat produced with a smaller environmental footprint. 

The judges added the technology sped up the measurement of on-farm vegetation which has traditionally been a laborious and time-consuming process.   

Datamars Livestock Technology Award winners

Gallagher Innovative Farming Award

The Gallagher Innovative Farming Award was won by the Marlborough-based fence post recycling company Repost Ltd. 

Using waste posts from the viticulture industry, Repost Ltd turns them into low-cost fence post options for sheep and beef farmers. 

 Owned by St Arnaud farmer, Dansy and Greg Coppell, the judges described Repost Ltd as being a fantastic example of farmers finding a solution to an on-farm challenge and turning it into a unique recycling business. 

They said Repost Ltd was an innovative circulatory solution which had clear environmental and economic benefits. 

image of Gallagher Innovative Farming Award winners

Silver Fern Farms Market Leader Award

The Silver Fern Farms Market Leader Award was won by the recently formed veal company, Pearl Veal. 

 Owned by Alan McDermott and Julia Galwey, Pearl Pastures began by identifying the needs of the customer, in their case chefs, and worked backwards to produce a veal product that met their requirements, thus driving demand. 

The judges said there was no better example of market leadership with Pearl Pastures striving to be an exemplar at every stage of the supply chain. 

 Pearl Pastures was also providing a novel solution to the difficult issue of wastage in the dairy industry. 

Silver Fern Farms Market Leader Award winners 2023

AgResearch Emerging Achiever Award 

AgResearch Emerging Achiever Award was won by Darfield-based Amy Hoogenboom. 

The award judges described Amy, who is New Zealand’s Beef Genetics Manager for Zoetis, as a great example of a hard-working young professional. 

They said she had clear goals, a massive passion for the sector and its success and was highly motivated.  

They described Amy as being an exemplar of an emerging achiever. 

Amy has broadened her leadership in the beef industry to incorporate commercial, sector and industry-good activities. 

Agresearch Emerging Achiever Award 2023

Rabobank People and Development Award 

The Rabobank People and Development Award was won by the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust. 

 The judges said The Trust, which manages the Nuffield Farming Scholarship and the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme alongside other initiatives, offered high quality, fit-for-purpose leadership programmes for the primary sector.  

They added that the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust was well known, highly regarded and had demonstrated longevity in the sector.  The Trust had impact across all primary industries. 

Rabobank People Development Award winners 2023

FMG Rural Champion Award  

The FMG Rural Champion Award was won by the nationwide farmer mental health and well-being initiative Surfing For Farmers. 

The judges said it was hard not to give Surfing For Farmers a perfect score 

Surfing For Farmers had grown to reach a large national audience, (last season Surfing For Farmers hosted over 4000 farmers at 28 locations), it was novel, enabled connections and had high impact in supporting farmers ’wellbeing.’’ 

The programme, which is run by volunteers, had maintained sponsorship and had grown significantly in its scope and impact. 

image of FMG Rural Cahmpion Award winners

Alliance Significant Contribution Award

The Alliance Significant Contribution Award was won by Canterbury-based Farm Systems Scientist Tom Fraser. 

 For over six decades, Tom has been translating science into farmer language and has provided farmers with the tools, approaches and wisdom that has helped drive productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes. 

 The award judges said that Tom’s commitment to the sheep and beef sector, to research and on-farm extension was legendary. Tom’s passion has been for science to be relevant, useful and to make a difference. 

Tom’s influence and impact span the regions and this country’s sheep and beef industry. 

Alliance Significant Contribution Award winner 2023

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Regional Leadership Award  

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Regional Leadership Award, which recognised an outstanding individual, organisation or business in the sheep, beef and dairy beef sector, went to the Cheviot sheep and beef farmer Ben Ensor.  The winner of this award was identified by the Farmer Council in the Award’s host region.  

The judges commented that Ben Ensor led North Canterbury’s dryland farmers through an incredibly difficult period in North Canterbury’s farming history 

Faced with a regulation that threatened their viability, North Canterbury’s dryland farmers grouped together under Ben’s leadership to fight the regulation, which was eventually changed, and provide proof that they were continually working to reduce their environmental footprint. 

 Out of this adversarial situation, Ben was instrumental in turning the dryland farming group into the Hurunui Landcare Group.  

Ben is recognised for his integrity, and this combined with his inclusive leadership style has opened doors and built bridges with a diverse range of stakeholders, from regulatory organisations, environmental groups and local iwi.  

B+LNZ Regional Award winners 2023

Watch the 2023 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards ceremony recording