Environmental farm planning a necessity

Building environmental farm planning skills now could be important for keeping costs down and developing the best possible FEP

Farmers are being encouraged to get ahead of the game and prepare now for whatever final new environmental rules are rolled out in the Waikato and Waipa rivers catchments.The Proposed Plan Change 1 for the catchments recognises that environmental solutions need to be tailored to individual farm settings, and Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) are an effective tool for doing that. That’s why the requirement for all farms to have a tailored FEP is a central policy in the plan.

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Waikato Regional Council sustainable agriculture advisor Don Harford suggests farmers start building farm planning skills now so that they can do as much as possible themselves to keep costs down, and develop the best possible FEP for their farm.

Don says he finds many farmers already do good things environmentally on their farms, but don’t always receive recognition for this and for the challenges they face. Opportunities for efficiencies, improvements or new ideas, will be something many will miss out on.

Workshops for drystock farmers

To help with getting ahead of the game, Don has put together the first four workshops for drystock farmers, in the Whangape catchment to be held from mid to late this month.

The workshops are designed to get farmers together to talk about environmental risks and suitable mitigations relevant to their farming system.

"Solutions that might work for sheep may not be suitable for bull beef. What works for dairy heifers may not work for beef cows," Don says. 

He recognises that the knowledge base among farmers is extensive and the workshops will draw on both this experience and council suggestions.

These workshops will prepare farmers to attend Beef+Lamb New Zealand FEP workshops. These B+L NZ workshops take farmers to the next level in the planning process where FEPs are developed.  

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