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Inaugural Canterbury Dairy Effluent Expo attracts hundreds

MEDIA RELEASE

March 1, 2012

Inaugural Canterbury Dairy Effluent Expo attracts hundreds of people

Around 550 people attended the inaugural Canterbury Dairy Effluent Expo – a showcase event held on Monday February 20 in Christchurch.

“We are very encouraged by the number of people who attended the expo and the high level of engagement around finding out good practice for current dairy farming issues,” said dairy farmer and Environment Canterbury Commissioner Tom Lambie.

The expo was hosted by the Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group – a dairy industry-council initiative set up in 2008 – to promote environmental compliance and the optimal use of dairy effluent on farms.

The people who attended the expo were a mix of farm owners, sharemilkers and farm staff, as well as people working in agribusiness goods and services firms.

“The willingness of suppliers and industry to work together to deliver compliant, practical, and economical solutions on-farm was evident in the number of exhibitors supporting this free-to-farmer expo,” said Tom Lambie.

More than 40 organisations and companies set up displays at the expo and were rewarded with a steady stream of people to talk to throughout the day.

“It is not often that dairy farmers have the opportunity to compare such a variety of commercial and good-practice information on dairy effluent under one roof, on one day,” said Tom Lambie.

Lucy Bowker, Environmental Manager for Synlait, said the expo was well received by farmers and provided quality advice following interest generated by the establishment of the Farm Dairy Effluent Design Code of Practice and Standards.

“The Expo gave farmers a chance to talk to effluent system suppliers to find out how a system can be designed to follow the Code, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ and caters specifically to their farming operation.

“The timing of the event would help farmers to cost out their requirements in plenty of time to set budgets for any upgrades,” said Ms Bowker.

Environment Canterbury Director of Resource Management Kim Drummond said the new regulatory requirements within the Canterbury Natural Resources Regional Plan also made the Expo very timely as dairy farmers work to address a number of issues.

“These issues include new dairy effluent pond requirements, additional stock exclusion rules from Environment Canterbury which take effect in June, as well as the national water metering regulations which come into force in November this year,” said Kim Drummond.

Westland Milk Products chief executive Rod Quin says the event attracted farmers from as far as the West Coast who were looking to increase their knowledge of improved effluent and environmental practices.

“As well as showcasing new and applied dairy effluent methods, the expo offered a valuable opportunity for dairy farmers to network, and discuss tried and true effluent management options,” Mr Quin said.

Libby Sutherland, Sustainability Team for Fonterra, said it was great to see the number of Fonterra suppliers that made the event, and all were boasting fantastic feedback.

Alastair Wiffen, who attended the expo representing Opus International Consultants, said the event was effective as it was specific to dairy effluent and all stakeholders had a common purpose.

About the Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group

The Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group was formed to help improve on-farm environmental compliance and optimal use of dairy effluent.

Recognising farmers, their industry representatives and environmental regulators all had similar goals of good environmental stewardship, the parties have worked together on the focus and use of consistent messages to help farmers improve awareness regarding effluent management.

The Group includes DairyNZ, Environment Canterbury, AgITO, Federated Farmers, SIDDC, Fonterra, NZ Dairies, Synlait and Westland Milk Products. It was established in 2008 to work collaboratively towards improving dairy industry environmental performance through a range of measures.

ENDS

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