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NZ farmers quick to adopt sustainable farming

1 June 2005

NZ farmers quick to adopt sustainable farming practices

A new sustainable farm management programme has been developed for New Zealand farmers.

NZ Farmsure is designed to help farmers improve productivity and profitability while encouraging long-term environmental management strategies.

It focuses on sustainable land and animal practices and business planning efficiency, and it includes elements of social responsibility.

Launched in November 2004, the programme is now used by over 50 North Island farms and a further 70 farmers have registered to join. Depending on the farm, it can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to participate in the programme.

"The goal of NZ Farmsure is to achieve food safety, animal welfare and resource management practices that are defendable in all countries including New Zealand," says director, Kris August.

"It provides formal systems, efficient processes and regular auditing protocols to ensure best practice farming, financially and environmentally."

Mr August says NZ Farmsure has the ability to address growing criticism here and internationally about the long-term environmental impacts of modern farming.

"As well as actively encouraging best practice sustainable farming within the rural community, we need to be seen to be doing so by other stakeholders."

Another element of the programme focuses on recruiting and retaining qualified staff in the farming sector to ensure farms are run increasingly on sound business models.

"There is a lot of talk these days about 'sustainable management'. Farmers and others involved in the primary sector have to walk the walk. Our livelihoods depend on it.

"Farmers need to be seen to be taking a leadership role in addressing these issues and turning them into opportunities rather than cost factors.

Mr August says NZ Farmsure will expand into the South Island as the resources to help deliver the programme are identified.

ENDS

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