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New water reports embarrassing for Fed Farmers

22 November 2006

New water reports embarrassing for Fed Farmers

The Green Party today called on Federated Farmers' president Charlie Pedersen to get real about targets to reduce nitrogen contamination from farming in light of two new studies.

The Environment Ministry yesterday released a report by NIWA showing that nutrient and faecal bacteria concentrations are positively correlated to the percentage of a catchment in pastoral farming - i.e. the more sheep and cows in an area the higher the nutrient and faecal bacteria load in the rivers.

"In the worst cases, Federated Farmers' 10 in 10 goal (to reduce nitrogen runoff by 10 percent over 10 years) wouldn't even reverse the damage done in the previous 10 years. It's a joke," Greens' Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"The good news is that the decrease in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) indicates that reducing point source discharges, such as sewerage and industrial effluent, into rivers has helped improve environmental quality. That puts the pressure on groups like Federated Farmers to stop dragging the chain."

Federated Farmers 10 in 10 goal was also brought into question by the second report - a study by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC), which showed that nitrogen inhibitors have the potential to reduce nitrogen losses from the agricultural sector by 60 to 70 percent, Nandor says.

"Judging by these figures, Charlie Pedersen's grand 10 in 10 plan could be achieved in just one year if nitrogen inhibitors were used by all farmers. Once again Federated Farmers grudgingly offers too little too late.

"Federated Farmers has to stop being an apologist for farmers who pollute and start representing those many farmers who are genuinely committed to sustainable agriculture," says Nandor.

ENDS


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