Organising awards ‘inspirational’

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Farm Environment Awards is a great opportunity for farmers, regional co-ordinator and former award winner Camille McAtamney says.

“It’s a great experience and you learn a lot.”

Mrs McAtamney and her husband, Simon, run their sheep and beef operation at Greenfield and in 2007 won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment supreme award along with Mr McAtamney’s parents, Terry and Patricia.

The family was surprised to win the award and it had all been a great experience with valuable lessons, Mrs McAtamney said.

“We got a lot of good feedback from it.”

Four years later the opportunity arose for Mrs McAtamney to take on the co-ordinator position, a role that she has thoroughly enjoyed.

“It’s such a positive aspect of farming,” she said.

Originally from a poultry farm in Roxburgh, Mrs McAtamney had no involvement in the sheep and beef industry before meeting her husband.

Sustainability . . .Camille McAtamney and her husband, Simon, run their sheep and beef operation at Greenfield and in 2007 won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment supreme award along with Mr McAtamney’s parents, Terry and Patricia. PHOTO: LAURA.SHIPLEY

Attending high school at both Roxburgh Area and Dunstan High schools, she completed a national diploma in business studies before training as a secondary school teacher at Christchurch Teachers College, training in business administration and computing.

She then taught at St Kevin’s College in Oamaru for four and a-half years before travelling and teaching overseas for 18 months.

On her return, she became programme manager of business administration and computing at the Southern Institute of Technology.

She then met her future husband and moved to the McAtamney family farm, where she and Mr McAtamney have now been for 15 years.

After getting married she took a year off, spending time on the farm learning the ins and outs and never went back to her teaching work, she said.

“I had two kids [Fraser (12) and Gemma (10)] and ended up being a stay-at-home mum.”

Having her children led to a heavy involvement with children-related things in the community, which had provided valuable skills that she had taken into her role as award co-ordinator, she said.

As part of her job as regional co-ordinator, which she has now been doing for six years, Mrs McAtamney spent time co-ordinating sponsors, organising and planning the awards dinner, liaising with judges and entrants, organising meetings and putting together the Otago supreme winner’s field day, she said.

“I have a great committee to help me.”

“I’m busy but it’s a good busy and I get the privilege of working from home.”

Meeting people from all different backgrounds and seeing their business was the best part of the position, Mrs McAtamney said.

“It’s good to see what other people are doing.”

It also gave her inspiration and ideas of what could be implemented on their own farm, she said.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards and the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Entries for Southland close on Friday and entries in Otago close on October 31. For more details visit www.nzfeatrust.org.nz.