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Fonterra Remains Committed to Improving Water Quality

20 February 2013

Fonterra Remains Committed to Improving Water Quality

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited is right behind the dairy industry’s new Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord (SDWA), having spent the last nine years working to improve water quality through the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord (DCSA).

During the DCSA period reported improvements are as follows:
• Farms with Stock excluded from waterways from 67% to 87%
• Farms with race crossing points with bridges or culverts from 92% to 99%
• Farms with dairy effluent treated and discharged in compliance with Regional Council Resource Consent from 67% to 73%
• Farms with nutrient budgets from 17% to 99%

“Clearly, there’s more work to do – particularly on effluent management which is behind where we need it to be. But it’s important to give credit to Fonterra farmers for the work already done,” says Fonterra Co-operative Affairs Managing Director Todd Muller.

“Our farmers have invested millions of dollars over the past nine years on environmental improvements. A new effluent system alone can cost up to $150,000. Clearly this is a huge commitment, but our farmers have stumped up because they know it’s important.

Mr Muller says with the end of the DCSA, the new Sustainable Dairying Water Accord means the whole industry will join Fonterra farmers in making a collective effort to improve the health of waterways in New Zealand.

“We welcome this collective commitment. It’s a significant step forward.

“The SDWA recognises, as we do, that caring for our waterways is an ongoing responsibility. Our Fonterra farmers are continuing their sustained effort, working towards specific targets and requirements in our conditions of supply. Many are already there,” says Mr Muller.

“Fonterra has also worked with them, increasing our Sustainable Dairying Advisory team from four to 17 and providing targeted, practical information.”

Commenting specifically on the exclusion of cattle from waterways, Mr Muller says: “In the past there has been some confusion about what needs to be fenced. But going forward we are getting really clear on this. It is now part of every farmer’s annual Farm Dairy and Environmental assessment and our conditions of supply require all Accord-type waterways to be fenced by the end of this year.”

Mr Muller says Fonterra is right behind the new Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord because it binds together the entire industry in a targeted and transparent effort to do what is right for the protection of New Zealand’s water resources.

“While the targets may seem ambitious, our experience with the DCSA shows that given access to the right information and support, change can be introduced, our impact on the environment can be reduced and we can protect the New Zealand dairy industry’s reputation here and overseas.”

– ENDS –

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