If you are wedded to your farm, it’s time to get engaged


If you didn’t already know: Every province of Federated Farmers is fully involved with voicing members’ concerns around the Essential Fresh Water Rules and Council Policy guidance.

For every province the impacts will differ. When it comes to cropping (a practice taken out by farmers to keep stock off most of the farm to protect soil on the rest of the farm and supply a plentiful feed source so animals are happy).

Having animals on flat areas in my district are prone to flooding and pugging, which the regulations hope to avoid; whereas using some slope avoids that and there are other ways to mitigate other risks. But now the majority are going to need to apply for consents next October to prove it.

If you have always done what you are doing, you do have a short-term existing use right (six months) in the meantime.

If your farm is mapped as low sloped (that does not mean it is) but stock exclusion rules apply to that mapped area, this map cannot be used as evidence for suitable cropping land.

Make sense? No, I don’t think so either, and that is just two examples, trust me there are many more.

The Regional Council is particularly concerned about the mapping of and proof every culvert meets regulations on a farm. How do any of us deal with it?

They are also concerned about the rules that affect how monitoring data will have to change to real-time because, as determined in the Collaborative Stakeholders Group, our monitoring system is not fit for that purpose. And the cost…ouch and that effects every single water user in our region, town or country.

The upgrades required to the three waters is a huge bill facing urban communities. As natural systems have now a clear priority, human needs and economics is not an excuse.

We have had some success with Ministers Parker and O’Connor agreeing to improve the maps and some definition changes. Feds are literally the experts in sorting practical issues in regulation – the legal battles and hearings we get involved with are eyewatering.

That’s why having us in the room is of value and that’s what a membership helps pay for.

Protesting 20 years ago is what got us in the current pickle. Providing sound logical evidence and solutions are more appreciated. Building good working relationships is what works. No one wants to work for someone who yells at every misstep, why would those who govern us be any different?

But we are persistent. Like a pen being clicked we are hard to ignore, we see issues that need addressing for the whole community, others will join us, our industry groups are now also aiding this post regulation discussion, and it’s appreciated.

Yesterday I was at a Fire and Emergency meeting in Rotorua, where the threat of carbon farming on fire hazards was brought up; this too is ripe for some proactive regulations to avoid a future disaster. Most risk comes from outside the properties that burn, so this fire season remember – it’s a spark that starts a fire.

Another current issue is TB infections. The current infection stems from vector sources. We have pigs on our farm in a place they have never been seen in living memory, someone is assisting their spread, that’s a sure way to get TB spreading and bring back a certain toxin hunters hate. If you are in an area that is having to resort to toxin baits. Be a responsible owner of animals, keep them well away and dogs muzzled until significant rain has fallen.


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Waikato Agribusiness News

The publication profiling the best in agribusiness in Waikato.