20 Apr 2015

Te Anau farm takes top enviro honour

5:59 am on 20 April 2015

Award-winning farms in Southland and Otago have protection of waterways as a high priority.

Farming couple Robert and Anna Kempthorne, who helped set up the first dairy farming operation in the Te Anau basin, are the supreme winners in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Southland.

Robert and Anna Kempthorne.

Robert and Anna Kempthorne. Photo: Supplied

The Kempthornes run Mavora Farms, a dairy and sheep operation spread over more than 600 hectares. The dairy unit was established in 2007 in partnership with Mr Kempthorne's parents Bruce and Linda.

The farm also contains woodlots, and an extensive new gravity-fed water system which includes 12 ponds used as sediment traps. The perimeters of the ponds have been fenced and planted.

The top Otago farm environmental award has gone to Dave and Janene Divers, who farm a 1600 hectare sheep and beef property 'Table Hill', inland from Milton.

As well as farming sheep and cattle, the Divers also operate Cascade Creek Retreat, a luxury eco-tourism enterprise.

Protecting waterways has been a high priority. They have fenced the bulk of the waterways and plant about 500 eco-sourced plants a year, adding to native bush in gullies and river gorges with trees up to 1000 years old.