Written by Carolyn Deverson
Owaka Valley farmers Cody and Nicola Hartvigsen were among five finalists at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment awards.
They also came away winners of the Dairy Sustainability and Stewardship award.
The couple converted their sheep farm, bought several years before from Lindsay Eason, to dairy in 2008.
At the time, Cody said they were going into the unknown and were nervous about the future.
But their venture has paid off.
They were nominated for the awards by Dairy NZ.
"Sustainable farming is something we have always done," Hartvigsen said.
"The management of systems, effluent, the use of fertilisers, as well as running a profitable farm is what the judges looked for."
He said they had a nutrient budget and had a big area for storage of effluent. They had planted native trees around creeks, with flaxes and tussocks prominent.
"The trees provide beautiful flowers for bees and birds."
They also won the Otago Regional Council award for sustainable resource management award for quality water management and they have had their waterways fenced off.
The judges praised them for having "a strong environmental focus, riparian planting, effluent storage and application".
"They make good use of external advice and have proactive decision making with the ability to adapt and be flexible."
The farm employs a herd manager and three farm workers who do the milking.
The overall winners were Logan, Alexa and Ross Wallace, sheep farming at Waipahi.