Nutrient Management Programme Hits a Century
Nutrient Management Programme Hits a Century
The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP) hit a milestone this month, with the 100th person meeting all of the requirements to graduate as a Certified Nutrient Management Adviser.
Launched in late-2013, the NMACP is designed to ensure qualified advisers provide effective and consistent nutrient advice to farmers, with all 100 graduates in the programme demonstrating a high standard of knowledge and competency in nutrient management.
The NMACP was established as part of Transforming the Dairy Value Chain, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries. Through the programme, DairyNZ commissioned the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand to develop the NMACP—both are now involved in its ongoing governance.
“Nutrients drive pasture and animal production on a farm, but losses from land to waterways, particularly of nitrogen and phosphorus, can lead to increased growth of weeds and algae,” says Dr Philip Mladenov, Chief Executive of the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand.
“The NMACP is helping farmers to get good nutrient management advice so they can plan to efficiently use nutrients for on-farm production and minimise the potentially harmful losses,” he says.
To become a Certified Nutrient Management Adviser, all successful graduates must complete the Intermediate and Advanced courses in Sustainable Nutrient Management at Massey University and achieve high grades on a rigorous competency assessment.
“This assessment tests their knowledge on the sustainable use of agri-nutrients and their ability to deliver compliant nutrient management plans. The NMACP is open to all nutrient management professionals who meet the programme’s prerequisites,” says Dr Mladenov.
“Reaching 100 graduates is a huge step forward, and puts the industry well on the path towards ensuring that all nutrient management advisers in New Zealand’s primary industries are working in accordance with a transparent and rigorous set of industry standards,” he says.
Among their skills, Certified Nutrient Management Advisers have the experience and qualifications to use the OVERSEER tool for managing nutrients, taking into account production and environmental considerations to meet regulatory requirements.
The 100th graduate of the NMACP was Richard Preston. Richard has a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce and has worked for Ballance Agri-Nutrients for almost 20 years, first as a Technical Field Representative and then as a Key Accounts Manager for the lower South Island.
“In my role as a Key Accounts Manager and Certified Nutrient Management Adviser, I really enjoy getting out and working with farmers and giving them advice on the sustainable use of nutrients,” says Richard.
“It is great to be recognised as having achieved the Certified Adviser standard and know that the advice I give is both economically and environmentally sound,” he says.
Certified Advisers are now located in most provincial areas of New Zealand, with advisers working for Ravensdown, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a range of independent consultancies.
Training Manager for Ravensdown, Gordon McCormick, was certified at about the same time. Prior to his role as Training Manager, Gordon worked as a Senior Agri Manager for about 10 years. In his current role his is responsible for training and mentoring Ravensdown’s graduates.
“Nutrient management is an important part of farming successfully within limits. When farmers choose a Certified Nutrient Management Adviser they can be sure they are getting nationally consistent nutrient planning advice of the highest standard,” says Gordon.
“Certification gives our farmers and our staff confidence that they can produce the required baseline nutrient budget to the highest industry standard,” he says.
The programme also provides assurance to central and regional government regulators, as well as local and regional markets and the New Zealand public, that farmers are receiving sound nutrient management advice from well-trained professionals.
“There is a growing demand for high-quality, legally compliant nutrient management advice in New Zealand. The benefits of this programme are realised by ensuring environmental responsibility in concert with production efficiency. This is particularly important during tough economic times. The 100 advisers now certified in the programme provide an ever-increasing pool of professionally qualified people meeting Kiwi farmer’s nutrient management needs to a high national standard,” says Dr Mladenov.
“I’d like to congratulate all 100 successful graduates in the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme. Their on-going commitment to professional development is one example of the high level of professionalism in the primary sector today,” he says.