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Farmers welcome contribution to nitrogen reduction scheme

Rotorua farmers pleased with Government contribution to nitrogen reduction scheme


Farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment were relieved to hear confirmation on Monday that the Government will fund half of a $48 million scheme to reduce nitrogen losses from pastoral land around the lake. This money had been budgeted for “in-lake” actions so there is no additional cost to taxpayers and ratepayers who share the cost equally. The scheme is part of a wider effort to improve water quality in Lake Rotorua by reducing nutrient inputs – both nitrogen and phosphorus – from urban, rural and natural sources.

Rotorua farmers are working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and other stakeholders to develop draft rural land use rules around nitrogen. Those rules will target a 140 tonne nitrogen reduction by 2032, in addition to an incentive scheme target of 100 tonnes.

Wendy Roe, Chairperson of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective, points out that the lake nitrogen target means nitrogen losses from pastoral land need to be halved, a higher reduction than anywhere else in New Zealand.

“It is an ambitious target but we’re optimistic that we can keep our farms viable and protect the lake. Many farmers have already taken practical actions to reduce nutrient losses with all streams fenced off and stream banks planted up. Farmers are using innovative methods such as stand-off pads and sediment detention bunds”, says Wendy.

Rotorua farmers are keen on scientifically sound solutions. Low nitrogen fertiliser rates are being trialled locally with help from central government’s Sustainable Farming Fund, the regional council, DairyNZ and Ballance Agri-nutrients. You can learn more about the trial results and how to manage nutrient hot-spots at a field day on 6th May at Parekarangi Trust farm, 560 State Highway 30, 10.45am – 1.30pm.

“We also need ongoing farmer input to make sure the new nitrogen rules are workable and fair”, says Wendy. “Our farmer Collective is having its AGM on 20th May at Ngongotaha Hall, 6.30-9.00pm. We will have a presentation on the potential costs of meeting the draft rules. It’s a good opportunity for farmers hear about and debate the issues before we get to the more formal Resource Management Act processes. We need to get this right!”

The Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective is a group of 35 dairy, beef, sheep and deer farmers working to protect their farm viability while reducing nutrient loss from pastoral land.

Field day details:
You can learn more about the trial results and how to manage nutrient hot-spots on Tuesday, 6 May at Parekarangi Trust farm, 560 State Highway 30, 10.45am – 1.30pm.

Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective Annual General Meeting:
Ngongotaha Hall, 6.30-9.00pm.

Ends

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