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Published: 2005-04-07 00:00:00

A Lake Taupo farmer’s win in the 2005 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards will provide a role model for farmers in the area who are minimising farming effects on the lake, Environment Waikato chairman Jenni Vernon said today.

The Supreme Award winner announced last night is 38-year-old Turangi-based farmer Matthew Truebridge.

“It is pleasing and pertinent that the winner of this award comes from the Lake Taupo catchment. Farming, particularly in the Taupo catchment will place demands on farmers to minimise their effects on water quality, so it is great to see such a role model with a clear vision and commitment to the land and the lake,” Mrs Vernon said.

Environment Waikato had been a major supporter of the Waikato Farm Environment Awards since its inception 13 years ago.

“We are proud to see some great role models from a wide range of agricultural sectors,” Mrs Vernon said.

“Matthew Truebridge comes from a local farming family with a history and commitment to looking after the fragile soils and high water quality in the Taupo catchment. He is passionate about the lake and has a deep knowledge of farm practices and how they affect nitrogen loss and soil health.”

Mr Truebridge also won the Environment Waikato Water Protection Award, Ballance Nutrient Award and the PPCS/Richmond Best Livestock Award.

He purchased his 300 hectare bare block farm overlooking the western corner of Lake Taupo in 2001 with a five-year development and plan the judges described as “innovative and ambitious” with “refreshing long-term thinking”.

He acknowledged the vulnerability of the lake where he grew up and now farms on the edge.
The Lake Taupo policy variation to the Waikato Regional Plan is due to be released in June this year. This policy will avoid catchment wide increases of nitrogen loads to the Lake by placing limits on the nitrogen leached from all land uses in the catchment.