Central Hawke's Bay sheep and cattle farmers James and Jane Hunter are the supreme winners of the 2012 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The awards recognise the efforts farmers, orchardists and grape growers in the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne- East Coast regions are making towards sustainability.
The judges highlighted sub-surface drainage of heavy soils on cultivatable mudstone slopes on the coastal hill country farm as being an innovative feature.
James Hunter says drainage, along with extensive tree planting over many years, paid off in last April's major storm when almost 400mm of rain hit the farm.
He said the drainage stopped a lot of the slumping on the hills, but the trees were the real key in stopping the earth movement in the rain.
The couple will compete for the national farm environment title against eight other regional winners.
Regional dairy award
Te Puke couple Richard and Amy Fowler have won the Bay of Plenty sharemilker-equity farmer of the year contest in their third attempt.
The regional farm manager of the year title went to Grant Clark, a contract milker on a farm at Waimana.
Brandon Law, who works on a farm near Whakatane, is the dairy trainee of the Year.
All winners go through to the National Dairy Awards final in Auckland May.