. . . Methven dairy farmer Alister Body believes there’s good diversity in the farming sector, with a balance including sheep and crops. He’s confident about dairy’s future, but is concerned about calls to harness what some have labelled a one-trick pony.
“Talking about ponies and horse races, if you think of the economy as a horse race, you know it would be silly to put the hobbles on one of the leading horses so the rest can catch up,” . . .
No-one is arguing against the need for dairy farms to ensure that their practices have environmental safeguards.
But a lot of the policies being promoted by opposition parties including extra taxes, less flexible employment law and unrealistic environmental standards would hobble the horse which is contributing so much to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being.
Practices in the past on some farms haven’t been as protective of water quality as they should have been.
But farmers and diary companies are now doing much more to guard against nutrient leaching and regional councils are using both carrots and sticks to ensure they at least meet minimum standards.