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Feds Say Farmers Just Fed Up

Federated Farmers is clear that farmers should carry out winter grazing in a responsible manner and in no way encourages farmers to break the law. But when pathways are limited and full of roadblocks, people simply become frustrated says Federated Farmers Winter Grazing spokesperson Colin Hurst.

For the last two years, the Government has promised that farmers wanting to undertake winter grazing would have three Pathways available to them, Permitted Activity Pathway, a Certified Farm Plan Pathway, and a Resource Consent Pathway. In March 2021 Ministers O'Connor and Parker, and April 2021 Minister O'Connor promised that the farm plan pathway would be available in 2022 ready for the 2023 winter.

"Despite these promises, the alternative farm plan pathway is not available and is not expected to be ready for some time".

This ultimately leaves thousands of farmers requiring a resource consent to comply with rules. Ministers have delayed the Winter Grazing regulations twice in recognition of the alternative farm plan pathway was not ready. Federated Farmers called for the regulations to be delayed until the farm plan pathway was available to farmers to avoid the enormous consent burden on councils and farmers.

"Ministers have flatly refused our numerous requests; farmers have done a great job in recent years and Regional Councils report significant improvements to farmer practices this past winter".

At a recent Invercargill public meeting organised by Southland Federated Farmers, some of the Southland Federated Farmers elected representatives took a personal stance that they would not be applying for winter grazing consents as they consider them to be a waste of time and money.

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"This is a clear indication of sheer desperation, and only necessary because the Government has failed to deliver the promised alternative farm plan pathway".

The government has estimated that 10,000 farmers will need to get a resource consent to undertake winter grazing. This estimate is also consistent with council and industry estimates. Conservatively estimating the average cost of a consent at $2000.

"This is a total cost of approx $20 million which could be much better spent elsewhere. In addition to the financial burden, the process of obtaining a resource consent is time consuming and stressful, so what is the real point? Resource consents should be the exception not the rule - and apply to high risk, not everyday activities.

"The need for the resource consent is largely down to Government, not farmer failures".

Intensive Winter Grazing Module and guidance produced by Beef+LambNZ and DairyNZ

For further details on whether you need a resource consent please refer here

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