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Rangitata farm environment plan template approved

Media Release
September 18, 2014

Rangitata farm environment plan template approved

Environment Canterbury announced today its approval of the third farm environment plan template under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan.

The template was developed by Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd (RDRML) and the three irrigation schemes supplied by the company, Mayfield-Hinds, Valetta and Ashburton-Lyndhurst. Together these schemes supply water to 450 shareholders in Mid Canterbury. RDRML holds a consent requiring the company to prepare and have approved a farm environment plan.

The company also sought approval of the template to enable farmers who partially irrigate from these schemes to complete a single plan covering the entire property and be fully compliant with the regulatory requirements for both parts of the property - the part irrigated with scheme water and the balance that is not.

Acknowledging the quality of the template, Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said RDRML had met all the requirements of Schedule 7 of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan.

“We hope the farm environment plans that come from this template are valuable both for farmers and for the company,” Mr Bayfield said.

“The Plan is a primary delivery mechanism of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It is therefore reassuring to see in this template a methodology that will enable development of plans identifying actual and potential environmental effects and risks to properties, addresses those effects and risks, and has a high likelihood of appropriately avoiding, remedying or mitigating them.”

RDRML Chief Executive Ben Curry says he is delighted that the farm environment plan has been recognised as meeting the standard set by Environment Canterbury.

“It means farmer shareholders are now able to qualify their responsibilities under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan as well as meet our standards for best practice irrigation,” Mr Curry said.

Under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, a farm environment plan will need to be produced in any circumstances where an application for consent to farm is required.

“There are several situations where a consent will be required at different times in future, depending on how at risk water quality is in the zone where the property is located,” Bill Bayfield said.

“Irrespective of the rules, we encourage all farmers to prepare farm environment plans. They will help identify environmental and business risks and planning for their management. International markets are increasingly demanding proven sustainability, and farm environment plans are one way to demonstrate this.”

Under Schedule 7 of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, farm environment plans can be prepared either by landowners themselves or via industry-prepared templates and guidance material.

Minimum content is specified, and all farm environment plans must include an assessment of the adverse environmental effects and risks associated with the farming activities and how those effects and risks will be managed, including irrigation, application of nutrients, effluent application, stock exclusion from waterways, offal pits and farm rubbish pits. Farm environment plans must be audited.

The first and second templates approved by Environment Canterbury were for Synlait Milk Ltd and Whakaora Te Waihora.

For more information on the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, go to www.ecan.govt.nz/lwrp

For information on RDRML, go to http://www.rdrml.co.nz/

ENDS

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