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Dairy Farmers Should Make Good While Returns Shine

ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff says Dairy farmers must take advantage of their excellent returns in the past year to make necessary environmental improvements.

“With increasing land use given over to dairy farming, the pressure on waterways is the real issue.

“Measures such as building on-farm bridges – so cattle don’t have to walk across creeks and drainage channels – building fences so that cattle can’t wander into the rivers and riparian plantings all help to reduce nitrogen loading.

“These things, of course, all cost money. However, the strong financial returns the farmers have had this year make such expenditure choices feasible.

“Farmers know the value of property rights must recognise the rights of other farmers and recreational users to water for irrigation, fishing and community supply.

“If farmers take the lead and show themselves responsive to environmental issues then they will pre-empt the possibility of regulations being forced upon them. Any move to restrictive regulations on farmers could prove very disruptive, and more costly than taking pre-emptive action in the first place,” Gerry Eckhoff said.

"Discretionary spending by dairy farmers must include environmental protection works to ensure that the industry's reputation as good corporate citizens remains.

"The long-term answer lies with intelligent water harvesting that augments critical low summer flows. Nothing less, is at stake, than New Zealand's reputation for conscientious stewardship of the environment.


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