Federated Farmers: ECan’s Land & Water Regional Plan
27 December 2013
ECan’s Land & Water Regional Plan sets Federated Farmers to work
Federated Farmers three Canterbury provinces are fully committed to doing their bit for the community and for farmers in the management of our most precious resource.
“As people head to the summer barbecues no doubt water quality will feature as part of the discussion, “says Chris Allen, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury provincial president.
“The recent Lincoln perceptions survey shows we’ve got a wee way to go before public perceptions of what food producers do catches up with reality.
“It is our real hope that the work we’re doing on-farm, the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan and the enormous amount of research going into water and soil science, will help to narrow the gap between perception and reality.
“There are so many positive things going on in our complex farm systems that it’s hard for the media to report everything.
“I freely admit that farmers investing in things like riparian plantings, stock exclusion and soil moisture equipped irrigators isn’t easy to convey to the public, but they are just three of the many things we’re doing on-farm and they are having good results,” Mr Allen added.
North Canterbury Provincial President Lynda Murchison, who is also an environmental planner, outlined the role Federated Farmers is playing:
“The Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan is about communities taking responsibility for the effects we all have on the environment rather than it being just a cost burden,” Mrs Murchison explained.
“You could say it is the policy bones but the meat will come from the Zone Committees and the Matrices of Good Management (MGM).
“Federated Farmers is fully engaged in the collaborative Zone Committee process since this is about finding solutions. Solutions which give the local people, with skin in the game, some say in what they want from water.
“We need to make this Plan work for everyone, town as well as country, but it will not be easy, straightforward or without some trade-offs.
“It’s why farmers need to get on top of the impact we are having on water quality. It’s why we need to make full use of the tools that are available to us, like the nutrient management tool Overseer.
“Once you know what your losses are on-farm, as opposed to what you think they are, you become informed on what your options are,” Mrs Murchison said.
Getting the overall policy balance right was emphasised by South Canterbury provincial president, Ivon Hurst:
“That’s where Federated Farmers comes in because it’s all about good land husbandry,” said Mr Hurst.
“It’s about securing good resource management policy that is not only cost effective, but enables and incentivises good management practice over a time period that does not financially cripple those undertaking it.
“To me this is a universal message for town and country alike,” Mr Hurst concluded.