Rural round-up

October 8, 2013

On Farm Productivity Is Good, But The Big Money Is Made From Off Farm Productivity – Milking on the Moove:

There’s a lot of talk about productivity in New Zealand these days.

But are we focusing on the right areas?

The government has set a target of doubling the primary sectors export earnings from $32 Billion to $64 Billion by 2025.

Nobody doubts that this is a difficult ask.

New Zealand’s primary sector has a strong record of productivity gains.

The sheep industry alone has increase productivity (expressed as meat sold /ewe) by 80% over the last 25 years.

That’s 2.5% productivity gain every year. Any business analyst will agree that that is impressive.

But are sheep farmers any better off?

Despite 20 years of productivity gains sheep farmers recently experienced their lowest level of profitability, according to Beef & Lamb NZ data. . .

Setting a pathway to a sustainable future – James Houghton:

The judges ruling on the One Plan has got everyone claiming a win, which is an unexpected result coming from two sides who have always been quite opposing in their views. What a fantastic result Honorary Justice Stephen Kòs has managed to keep both sides happy! For us it has allowed us, in conjunction with the regional council, to come up with a workable solution to the One Plan.

I was sitting next to a Fish & Game representative last Tuesday and I said that the primary industries are committed to putting money into getting good science around achieving the goals of healthy rivers and work forward for sensible solutions. I don’t know where he has been hiding for the past few years because he was quite surprised.

The plan as it now sits means everything is about making the pathway to improvements on farm achievable, and that’s all we ever wanted. It is all part of managing risk and making the most of the resources we have. But at the same time other stakeholders like Fish & Game and Forest & Bird need to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through good management practice on farm. This all comes down to setting the values through open and honest consultation and this is why we are setting up the Stakeholders Group, who will represent the community in Waikato and identify where the issues are, as well as the Technical Alliance Group (TAG) who will come up with the solutions. . .

Raetihi farmers frustrated but coping:

Farmers reliant upon Raetihi’s water supply are as frustrated as the urban residents are but remain hopeful alternative water supplies maybe secured by the end of this week.

“With livestock understandingly refusing to drink from contaminated troughs, it has been a difficult week for the affected farms and especially those who draw water from Raetihi’s water supply,” says Lyn Neeson, Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president.

“What we need now is some heavy rain and it looks like some is on the cards for mid-week.

“Farmers are coping quite well by moving stock to alternative sources either on or off-farm. This includes on-farm water supplies like dams through to sending stock off-farm. . .

Colombian Farmers Get First-Hand Look at NZ Agri Expertise:

The New Zealand Agribusiness Centre, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week welcome the largest Colombian delegation to ever visit New Zealand.

Some 170 Colombian farmers are spending a week in New Zealand to get first-hand insights into New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems and agritechnology. The visit includes an exhibition and seminar with major players in New Zealand’s agriculture sector at Mystery Creek Event Centre (home of Fieldays); fieldtrips to dairy, beef and sheep farms; and a visit to Landcorp’s pastoral farm development blocks near Taupo.

Led by Fedegan, the Colombian Federation of Ranchers, the delegation to New Zealand follows Prime Minister John Key’s official visit to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil earlier this year as part of the Government’s increased focus on strengthening bilateral relations and capitalising on trade opportunities with Latin America nations. . .

NZ study tour on offer for international farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced a new programme for overseas farmers to spend time in New Zealand on an agri-tech study tour.

“Four places a year will be available for farmers to spend up to three weeks here, looking at improved agricultural productivity and reducing on-farm methane emissions,” says Mr Guy.

“This programme will be fully funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and will help promote New Zealand’s agribusiness expertise overseas.

“My recent trip to South America has reinforced to me just how well respected New Zealand is overseas for the success of our agricultural sector. . .

Federated Farmers aids New Zealand’s agricultural diplomacy:

Federated Farmers has successfully tabled a paper at the World Farmers Organisation that could greatly contribute to New Zealand’s global agricultural diplomacy.

“I am pleased to say New Zealand’s proposal to invite farming organisations has been warmly received by the World Farmers Organisation and will further our country’s global outreach and engagement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The World Farmers Organisation is currently writing to our Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to agree a programme for farmers from developed or developing countries to travel to New Zealand for an agri-tech study tour.

“We envisage each visit will be coordinated by MPI but will involve industry good bodies, research institutions and ourselves. It will enable visiting farmers to spend two to three weeks working alongside our farming community and agricultural science sectors. . .

NZCTA urges positive action in light of botulism scare:

The New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) is urging industry and Government to work together to learn serious lessons from the Fonterra botulism scare. Official reviews have yet to be published, but the NZCTA is encouraging its members to continue to monitor the situation with respect to the China market.

“There is no doubt that the incident has damaged New Zealand’s image as a source of safe, high quality food products and the implications of this have been felt in terms of earnings for a number of our members, and this is unlikely to be fully resolved until New Zealand can prove that it has adequate systems in place to safeguard the industry and export markets” says Association Chairman Tim White. . .

City-fringe farm with a history of dairy and cattle grazing goes on the market for sale:

A dairy support farm described as being ‘as close to the city as you can get without being a lifestyle block’ has been placed on the market for sale.

The 185 hectare unit near the township of Waiuku in the Counties region of Auckland is a sheep farm which has been converted into a cattle and finishing block capable of running up to 650 head of cattle.

The farm is divided into some 40 paddocks and raced for efficient stock movement and separation. This year the farm has stocked 100 dairy heifer yearlings, 150 dairy heifer calves, 200 beef yearlings and 200 beef calves. . .


One Plan biggest threat to farming

December 26, 2012

A report on the economic impact of Horizon Council’s One Plan says it is the biggest threat facing farming.

. . . The 44-page report, just released, is the last in a series on key economic sectors commissioned by Palmerston North City and Manawatu District councils to highlight their importance to the local region.

The report, prepared by Massey University economics student Carla Muller, highlights the importance of agriculture to the rural community and to Palmerston North. It says in 2011 agriculture directly contributed $268 million to the region and indirectly $80 million. The report estimates agriculture accounts for 25% of Manawatu district’s GDP and 1.5% of Palmerston North’s GDP. On average, every dairy herd in the region has a return (before tax) of $139,519; sheep and beef farms return, before tax, $213,841.

But the report singles out One Plan as the biggest threat to farming in the region, saying it will have a potentially large impact on “farming practices and the farming landscape”. It goes on to say that it’s hard to quantify the exact impact until the court issues are resolved.

Palmerston North mayor Jono Naylor (pictured)  told Rural News his greatest concern about One Plan is the lack of resolution of the issues involved. With agriculture such a big part of the region’s economy it’s important concerns over viability and productivity are quickly resolved, he says.

“I think agriculture is taken for granted by a lot of New Zealanders. I don’t think a lot of people realise that the lifestyle we live today in the cities is on the back of the work done on farms. It’s a huge part of our economy and the rest of us re-circulate the money [farmers] generate.”

Naylor says the multiplier effect in Manawatu region from agriculture is big. “There is the direct impact from the farmers and the money they spend, which then generates jobs in the industries servicing the agricultural sector – education in agriculture, research institutions, and a lot of our manufacturing.” . . .

The challenge to councils and farmers is to come up with a plan and farming practices which ensure water quality is at an acceptable standard without compromising the viability of businesses which make such an important economic contribution to the region, and the country.


Rural round-up

December 1, 2012

Land and Water Forum better solution than Horizons’ One Plan – Lyn Neeson:

When my husband and I purchased our first 345 hectares in 1987, we never thought 25 years later we’d be fighting a regional council for survival.

Through good years and bad, we have worked hard to grow our farm to 1,500 hectares carrying 4,500 ewes and 250 Angus cattle over winter.

Farming keeps your feet on the ground because it is hard to have airs and graces during docking and shearing.

We also want to keep farming here. . .

2012 peak milk production setting new records:

In spite of a cold, wet spring on the West Coast, Westland Milk Products’ shareholder/suppliers on both sides of the Alps have re-written the record books with a peak milk production of 3.2 million litres, edging ahead of last season by 3% season to date.

Says Chief Executive Rod Quin: “This essentially means our shareholders are managing to maintain and even improve on production, which is a considerable testament to their productivity and efficiency.” . . .

Wheat genome’s key parts unlocked in new study -Mark Kinver:

Scientists have unlocked key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world’s most important crops, which could help improve food security.

The team hopes the data will accelerate the development of varieties more resilient to stresses, such as disease and drought, that cause crops to fail.

The 2012 wheat harvest was hit by extreme weather events around the globe, causing a sharp rise in prices. . .

Westland shareholders elect two new directors:

Westland Milk products shareholders have elected Hari Hari farmer Kirsty Robertson to represent the Southern Ward after director Jim Wafelbakker stepped down from the post after 25 years’ service.

Westland Chief Executive Rod Quin says few directors of any company could claim the record of service clocked up by Jim Wafelbakker.

“It is one of the hallmarks of Westland Milk Products that the company, because of its cooperative structure and the closeness of West Coast communities, often attracts a loyalty and record of service you’d usually associate with a family-owned business. Jim is a prime example of that. He came onto the board in 1987 and earned the loyalty of southern area shareholders right from the start. He has been an able and passionate advocate of them, and of Westland Milk Company as a whole.” . . .

Farmers getting ready for a dry summer:

Federated Farmers recommends farmers have contingency plans in place in case the current mild El Nino intensifies, bringing a higher risk of drought, Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson Katie Milne says.

“Summer is looming and some parts of the country are already experiencing drier weather than last year, which for farmers in the summer dry areas means a return to business as usual,” Ms Milne says.

“Some regions are already noticeably drier than usual, which is causing some concerns. With summer officially starting tomorrow it is important that farmers have contingency plans in place, such as de-stocking and getting in supplementary feeds. . .

Would you like wine with your spectacular sea view?:

Kina Cliffs has become the latest wine vineyard in the Nelson/Tasman region to open a cellar door and tasting room.

Located next to their home at 38 Cliff Road, at Kina the stylish new tasting room offers a truly breath-taking nearly 270° view that stretches from Nelson across Tasman Bay to the Abel Tasman National Park and around across rolling hills to Mount Campbell and the Western Ranges. . .

Hemp Seeds Sown:

Midlands Seed Ltd has recently completed the planting of this seasons hemp crops, which they grow under contract with farmer suppliers in the South Island. It’s an exciting time for the Ashburton based company and its subsidiary company Oil Seed Extractions Limited (OSE) who Cold Press the resultant seed to produce Hemp seed oil. FSANZ have recommended an amendment to food regulation laws allowing the sale of hemp foods in New Zealand and Australia, which if approved should mean more hemp crops grown in New Zealand in the future.

Hemp is an annual plant, with a 120 day growth cycle. Hemp crops are grown for fibre or alternatively for seed, which can be processed to oil and other nutritious foods. Whilst Hemp has a reputation as an easy plant to grow with a host of benefits, Hemp seed production brings with it numerous challenges. . .


One Plan costs up to 43%

November 18, 2012

Horizon’s One Plan could cost up to 43% of farm profitability.

Farmers are aghast an independent analysis commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), for a Land & Water Forum (LawF) working group, has revealed the shocking impact of the Horizons One Plan upon agriculture.

“The elected council of Horizons resembles a shiver looking for a spine to run up,” says Hew Dalrymple, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed vice-chairperson and an environmental award winning farmer.

“Upwards of $15 million of ratepayers money has been spent on a plan that will make farming here damned difficult.

“Thanks to Landcare Research’s research, we now have a good handle on the One Plan as it stands following the Environment Court decision. It scarily confirms the impact upon farm profitability will be at the upper end of 22 to 43 percent.

“If you are a member of the public, take up to 43 percent off your post-tax income and you’ll understand why we are angry. That grows when one of our policy staff members described even this high level of impact as potentially ‘optimistic’.

“In spite of this Landcare Research report, the council is acting like someone who has been told they have a terminal disease. It is in denial. How many times and how many ways do they have to be told the current plan version is a dog before the penny drops?

“Instead of being an officer’s mouthpiece, the elected council needs to ‘grow some’ and take charge. Councillors appear to have little understanding of which version of the One Plan they are talking about, let alone its effect upon agriculture. They appear to treat what council officers tell them as gospel.

“The council must listen to proper research that comes directly out of the work done for LawF. Given LawF got a positive reception by almost all parties, is Horizons really thumbing its nose at it now?” Mr Dalrymple asked.

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president, Andrew Hoggard, shared Mr Dalrymple’s concern over the Plan’s social and economic effects.

“Our concerns only increase when you read the Council Chairman confusing the outcomes of the Decisions Version with what came out of the Environment Court. If the impact was really one percent, do you think our dander would be so up, now?” Mr Hoggard added.

“From Landcare Research’s work for LawF, it is clear the council did not provide the Environment Court a full appreciation of just how deep One Plan cuts. Instead, all it got was a flimsy analysis from the Horizons Regional Council.

“We have seen an Official Information Act answer staking out One Plan’s impact. When you get Wellington bureaucrats describing the social and economic effects as ‘significant’, the word concerned puts it mildly.

“What is gutting is that Federated Farmers was fairly happy with Decisions Version of the One Plan. This was decided by the council’s Independent Hearing Commissioners and we spent some two years preparing for and being in front of the Commissioners.

“What they came up with we could have lived with.

“This work by Landcare Research provides a circuit-breaker for the council and it would be unwise of them to ignore it.

“I fully back the Minister when he says Horizons call for calm is dumb.

“This belief we should just hold our tongues and wait and see how many farmers go broke, farm staff get laid off, or rural service businesses downsize impacting rural towns, is beyond dumb,”Mr Hoggard concluded.

A mini-case study: Mike and Tracey Collis’ Organic farm in Tararua:
This farming couple stated to look at the options for whole farm management in 2008, following the notification of the One Plan. At that time, Organic diary farming ticked all the boxes, economically and environmentally. Now fully organically certified, this same farm run by an award winning farming couple can no longer comply with the year one nutrient loss targets and faces an uncertain future. The current farming system incorporates all nutrient management mitigation options available. To reduce nutrient loss to comply with the year one targets in the One Plan will result in a significant loss of farm profitability and equity which jeopardises the survival of the business. If farmers and farming systems of this calibre cannot comply with the One Plan we must fundamentally question its appropriateness.

The Otago Regional Council’s water plan has caused a similar level of concern and not just from farmers.

In Cleaner water but how? Rebecca Fox gives a very good coverage of the range of views on expressed during a month of consultation over how to achieve clean water.


Regional councils out of balance?

November 8, 2012

Local Body and Primary Industries Minister David Carter has criticised the analysis about the economic impact of the Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan:

. . . A case study for the Manawatu catchment indicates farm profits could fall by 22% to 43% as a result of land use changes needed to meet water quality targets in the plan.

Mr Carter said he will wait for the outcome of High Court appeals from farming and horticulture bodies against the Environment Court ruling, but he’s concerned about the restrictions proposed in the One Plan.

Federated Farmers says it will be challenge the regional council’s cost-benefit analysis under the Resource Management Act.

Chief executive Conor English says the impact would go well beyond farming, causing income cuts and job losses right through the supply chain.

Balancing economic and environmental concerns isn’t easy but the consequences  of getting it wrong  has serious consequences.

The One Plan has been greeted enthusiastically by some people but with serious concerns by others who think it has gone too far in the environmental direction without giving sufficient weight to the economic and social impact it would have.

Horizons isn’t the only council upsetting its constituents.

Farmers are concerned about the Southland and Otago Regional Councils too:

. . . There had been an alarming increase in effluent-related prosecutions over the last year relating to incidents which were mostly unintentional, extremely minor and fixed immediately by farmers, the letter said.

Farmers, who in most cases asked the councils for help, got no support and were instead prosecuted.

“Why is it not possible for farmers and the councils to work together to improve farming practices on a consultative basis without the need to resort to prosecutions for the first time or minor offences?” the letter said.

Inspectors have been seen taking photos and flying over properties “looking for any breach possible,” the letter said.

Local councils had moved from being a pragmatic, solutions-focused body to a vindictive, prosecutorial body, it said.

The farmers asked that the focus of local councils be shifted to help them comply, rather than be prosecuted. . .

This could be a consequence of having one body set and enforce rules and also collect the fines for those who breach them.

The object should be improved practices on farms and cleaner waterways. That is far more likely to be achieved by co-operation and eduction than prosecution.

Prosecution might be reasonable for people who deliberately offend and cause serious pollution. But there needs to be tolerance and advice for minor offences and accidents with the aim of compliance, rather than punishment.


Rural round-up

October 3, 2012

Foreign investment in the spotlight – Kai Tanter:

The biggest headline in Australian dairy news this week has been the possibility of China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, investing in the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The Van Diemen’s Land Company, which operates in the Australian state of Tasmania, is looking for AU$180 million in order to expand its operations. The Tasmanian government and dairy industry have both been courting Chinese investors and seem to have met with some success.

This news follows hot on the heels of recent Chinese investment in Australia’s largest cotton farm, the Queensland Cubbie Station. Meanwhile in New Zealand, the dust has only just settled after the Crafar Farms were finally sold to China’s Shanghai Pengxin. . .

Bruce Wills slams environmental activists who use the law to shut down critics while objecting to Fed Farmers’ appeal of decisions with legal errors and scientific fallacies – Bruce Wills:

According to one of our less sympathetic critics, Federated Farmers is a dinosaur.

It seems we are a legal version of Jurassic Park for having the temerity to question the Environment Court’s reversal of independent hearing’s commissioners on the Horizons One Plan.

That of course is the right of that critic because we thankfully live in a democracy. . .

Tatau tops milk payout stakes again:

The country’s smallest dairy co-operative, Tatua, has topped the milk payout stakes again.

The Waikato-based co-op has confirmed its 109 farmer suppliers will be getting a total payout for the past season of $7.50 cents a kilo of milk solids.

That’s 60 cents below the previous season’s record of $8.10 a kilo, but well above Fonterra’s $6.40 total payout for the past season. .

Farm Shop slams supermarkets for ‘overpriced and poorly sourced’ produce – Gemma Mackenzie:

Supermarkets have come under fire for being “too expensive and not providing consumers with enough good quality produce from their region” by the boss of the UK’s oldest farm shop.

Simon Hirst, partner in the family-run Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop in Netherton, West Yorkshire (established in 1974), said consumers were “missing out” by being forced to buy from supermarkets.

“The supermarkets have had a stranglehold on our food chain for so long we’ve been given little choice but to trawl the multiples’ aisles for food that is poor quality, poorly sourced and, particularly in the case of the meat products, over-priced,” said Mr Hirst, the fourth generation manager of the Yorkshire farm, which is famed for its top-quality beef, chicken and on-site butchers shop.

“The supermarkets would have us believe they are cheaper than the farm shops and farmers’ markets but, in many cases, this simply isn’t true.” . . .

How meat farmers can lift returns – Jon Morgan:

Craig Hickson tells a story to illustrate how meat processors can short-change farmers more than $20 on each lamb they send to the works. 

“I woke up the other morning with three women in my bed with an average age of 22.” 

He has the measured, deadpan delivery of a veteran comedian. 

“You’ll be thinking, ‘That’s unlikely, he’s lying – or skiting’.” 

He pauses to let the laughter die down. “One of them was my wife and the others were my granddaughters aged 2 and 4. 

“Your first thought was that they were all aged 22.” 

He pauses again. “And that’s the dangers of averaging.” 

The industry in which he has a strategic stake, with four meat plants in the North Island and now another in Wales, is guilty of this, he says. 

    He is talking to a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farming For Profit field day. The 30 farmers have just watched one of his butchers cut up a lamb carcass, been shown each cut and told its destination.

Lucerne Based Dairy Farm – More Feed, Less Irrigation, Less Nitrate Leaching – Milking on the Moove:

Richard Campion is a lecturer at Lincoln University; he presented a paper to the 18th International Farm Management Congress held in Methven last year. His paper was titled Utilising Lucerne Potential For Dairy Farming”.
 
In his paper he modelled the Lincoln University Dairy Farm using 90% lucerne and 10% winter crop. His report states that the ryegrass and white clover pastures at the Lincoln University dairy farm produce on average 17,000kg DM/ha/yr. Irrigated lucerne stands have been shown to produce 24,000kg DM/ha/yr. But the interesting point is that Lucerne has far greater water efficiency than ryegrass. For this reason irrigated lucerne can grow 25% more dry matter than pasture and it can do it with only 1/3 of the water that ryegrass needs. So if a dairy farmer changed their irrigated pasture system to a lucerne based system, they would reduce the water required for irrigation by approximately 65%. This is a massive potential saving . . .

New Zealand’s ATV Safety Programme Working

Just one recorded on-farm work related fatality to date this year clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the Government’s approach to the safe use of ATVs (quad bikes).

The Motor Industry Association whose membership includes the major importers and distributors of off road farm bikes, including ATVs, refute the  statement by Dr Lower that the industry was adopting tobacco type tactics to block mandating of the fitment of rollover protection (ROPS) for ATVs.

“ATVs are the modern day horse and we estimate there are between 70,000 and 80,000 in use on farms here in New Zealand,” said Perry Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association. “Naturally we are concerned by any accident and especially a fatality involving these vehicles.” . . .

New Zealand Dairy Farms Have So Few Trees. Why? – Pasure to Profit:

I want to encourage more trees on dairy farms, including perhaps Cider Apple trees.

Mixed Tree Species on farms can add to the environmental biodiversity. Imaginative shelter belts create a better work place. Trees add to the aesthetics of the farm. Effective tree shelter belts are good for animal welfare and may increase pasture growth. Could Cider Apple Trees also create another income for dairy farmers?    . . .

New Tool for Farmers to Manage Effluent Application:

Farmhelp is a recently developed mobile farming app with powerful calculators to assist farmers in determining the effluent loading they apply to the land.

There is mounting pressure internationally for farmers to effectively manage the application of farm effluent. . .

Brassica crops benefit from early planning:

Brassica crops provide high-quality forage for stock, but balancing production goals with input costs is vital to ensure planting a paddock of kale or turnip is a cost effective alternative to pasture.

New Zealand farmers grow about 300,000 hectares of brassicas a year, often as a break crop when pasture quality or performance starts to decline.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Lower North Island Technical Extension Officer Jeff Morton says that to achieve the best result with a brassica crop, nutrient deficiencies need to be resolved well ahead of sowing. . .

 Free workshops to help landowners better manage forests

Northland plantation forestry owners and contractors keen to better manage their earthworks and harvesting are being urged to attend one of five free local authority workshops being offered around the region next week.

The workshops in Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Dargaville and Maungaturoto are being run by the Northland Regional Council and are based on the recently released ‘Forestry Earthworks & Harvesting Guidelines for Northland’. . .


Rules without tools

September 17, 2012

The need for standards to ensure we have clean water for consumption and recreation is unquestioned.

How to keep it clean and improve sub-standard waterways is less straightforward.

The proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan would have a radical impact on land use.

“A radical feature of Canterbury’s Proposed Land and Water Regional Plan is consent to farm under nutrient discharge rules,” says Chris Allen, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury Provincial President.

“The big problem for any farmer, forester, wine maker or market gardener, revolves around incredibly tight tolerances for land use change.  Most farmers, like me, will not have nitrogen leaching conditions on a water consent because sheep farmers tend to be dryland ones.

“The practical impact means a good lambing may increase stock by just a few animals.  When running this through a nutrient management tool called Overseer, it may tell me my nitrogen loss has increased 10 percent.  That triggers an uncertain resource consent process.

“As large parts of Canterbury are defined as ‘red zones,’ we know the proposed default decision on land use change will be to decline.

“So that leaves me with two stark choices that sicken me as a farmer.  Either we carry less stock, underperforming productively and commercially, or some may be forced to dispose of lambs to remain compliant.

“That’s not farming.  It is dumbly following numbers punched out by an imprecise tool. . .

Submitters on the Otago Regional Council’s proposed plan are equally concerned about its impact.

A group of farmers says the council is acting against its own and national standards and farmers have expressed concerns about the rules.

Further north Horizon’s One Plan will see all but extensive hill country farmers having to seek consent to farm.

There is real concern about the impact these plans will have on people’s ability to farm. One of the reasons for this is that the councils appear to be imposing rules when there are not practical tools to measure water quality in a way that would enable landowners to comply.

Drinking the water every day gives us a very real interest in its quality and only environmental Luddites argue with the intention to maintain clean water and where necessary improve it. But there are real fears that the plans are being over-zealous and that the quest for pure water will threaten the viability of farming.

Those voicing concern aren’t asking to for economic concerns to trump environmental ones. They are asking for a better balance between the two and for rules which will work in practice and take account of the tools available for compliance.


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