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Farmers have spent millions in the Horizons region

Media Release

19 September 2014

Farmers have spent millions in the Horizons region

A Federated Farmers survey has revealed the average dairy farmer in the Horizons Region has spent over $110,000 on environmental management in the past five years.

“There are huge numbers being invested in the region, which tells a really positive story about where we are heading environmentally and the buy in that is coming from the farmers,” says James Stewart, Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president.

“As people vote tomorrow I genuinely hope they will realise that farmers are doing a lot to farm more sustainably.

“It is very difficult to put a number on environmental spending, but we wanted to try, so we sent a survey out to all 918 dairy farms via the Horizons Regional Council. We were stunned by the response, not just the figures but how many people replied during their busiest time of year, calving season.

“Of the 165 responses (18%), there was over $18 million spent by all manner of farmers from the small family farms to the bigger corporate farms. If you equated that to the 918 dairy farms in the region, we are looking at over $100 million spent by farmers on environmental protection, upgrades and sustainable practices in Horizons alone.

Breaking down the $18 million into Effluent, Riparian and Other categories, 61 percent was spent on effluent management and upgrades; 9 percent was spent on the initial instalment of riparian planting and fencing; and 30 percent was spent on stock exclusion such as bridges, culverts, feed pads etcetera. It’s important to remember that riparian planting also requires ongoing management and maintenance, which represents further costs in future.

“Whichever way you look at it there are sizeable figures being invested into systems, which minimise the environmental impact of dairy farming.

“Our stand out performers, were the smaller husband and wife teams, in particular one couple spent $360,000 on effluent management and upgrades, an individual who spent $183,000 on building 30 culverts, a feed pad and a irrigation monitoring system, and another who spent $430,000 on riparian management, retiring 30 hectares of land and fencing off waterways.

“We are seeing the positive work of farmers, Horizons Regional Council and other entities is paying off, with the overall trend of our rivers stable to improving. We know we’ve got a long way to go, but it is nice to finally be able to say ‘hey we’re pulling our weight” with some proof.

“I’d like to thank and congratulate all the farmers who are doing their bit and making the positive changes happen. We are the caretakers of the land and your time, investment and care is acknowledged and appreciated.

“I hope this goes some way to showing those who prefer the negative route, that the sky is falling, that we are truly all in this together working to achieve the same thing. We are going to continue investing in retiring land, fencing and planting waterways and upgrading our systems, all we ask is that in return is that the brow beating ceases whilst we get on with the job” concluded Mr Stewart.

ENDS

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