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Industry Aware of Environmental Responsibilities

3 November 2004

Dairy Industry Well Aware of Environmental Responsibilities

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) says a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment may have underestimated dairy farmer regard for and action on environmental issues.

DCANZ chairman Earl Rattray says the report "Growing for Good" confirms much of what the dairy industry has already recognised and is acting on in regard to the environmental issues posed by New Zealand's strong rural sector and its contribution to the national economy.

"There is no doubt that dairying has become more intensive over recent years, but equally there is no doubt that environmental issues and sustainable practices are more front of mind for our farmers,' says Mr Rattray.

"They know the edge our country's clean image gives them in international markets and they know that has to be supported by practices on the farm. You only have to look at recent developments such as Landcorp's award from the Department of Conservation to see how seriously farmers regard sustainable practice.

"There are a stream of initiatives emerging from the dairy companies to educate their farmers and address the environmental issues they face, particularly around water quality, nutrient management and effluent disposal. There is also a great deal of research, driven by our sector, into how we sustainably manage our farming practices and the business of farming going forward."

Mr Rattray cautioned that education and understanding was the key to continuing to grow farmer support for the environmental management issues raised in the report.

"When our farmers understand and buy into initiatives aimed at improving particular aspects of their business, there is a much quicker and more effective response than simply creating new rules or regulations."

ENDS

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