[10 May/Stuff NZ]

Waikato farm environment Supreme Award Winners Adrian and Pauline Bell believe that farmers need to avoid ego if they want to keep their social licence to operate as they come under increased pressure to reduce their environmental impact. In effect, farmers need to stop thinking they can do anything with the land just because it is theirs but instead start to look after it. In 2003, their farm business was leaching around 79kg of nitrogen (N) a hectare and produced around 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per hectare. Since then they have managed to lower their footprint by halving their greenhouse gas rate to around 10.6 tonnes and lowering their nitrogen leaching rate to 25kg/ha, and generating a $3500/ha farm surplus. They set small goals to reduce emissions and it worked such as switching from imported feed to home-grown feed. Their hybrid beef and dairy farm helps them to reduce nitrogen leakage.