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Interactive tool launched by regional council helps farmers

Interactive tool launched by regional council to help farmers

An interactive tool specially designed to help farmers mitigate common risks on-farm is being launched by Waikato Regional Council at this year’s National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

It ties in with the national Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality announced by the Government during an event in the Waikato last week.

The aim is for every New Zealand farmer and grower to have a farm environment plan to help them identify environmental risks and set out ways to manage them. The regional council’s new interactive tool will help Waikato farmers to do that on their own farm.

“A key part of Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora is farm environment planning, identifying risks on farm. The interactive tool we’ve developed will be available for farmers to use on our Fieldays site,” said the council’s land management and advisory services team leader, Alan Campbell.

“It’s also a good time for farmers to have a conversation with our staff about any specific problems they may have identified on their property.”

The interactive tool has a touch screen for visitors to navigate the common risks such as hill country slips, stockyard effluent disposal and streambank erosion.

It will be a requirement of Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1ealthy Rivers Wai Or that such risks are identified in individual farm environment plans, and the council will have farm environment plan templates and guides available at its Fieldays stand in the pavilion this week. Farmers will be able to pick up their pack and get started.

Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1 will be the front end of business at the council’s stand. The site also celebrates the work communities are doing across the Waikato, with the council’s support, as well as promoting farmer funding options.

“Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora is not just about healthy rivers but profitable and sustainable farming. By improving the way we use the land, we will improve the water quality in the Waikato catchment.

“Landowners also have an opportunity to enhance their properties by planting native trees and bush, retiring areas that aren’t suitable for farming, and improving wetlands, rivers and streams. While managing biodiversity is not a requirement of the proposed plan change, farmers may choose to design their farm environment plans with this in mind and may even be eligible for some funding.”

The council is showcasing examples of such work in a giveaway booklet, along with factsheets and guides on land management, pest plants and animal control.

For more information, visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/farm-environment-plans.

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