Red tape threat­ens farm vi­a­bil­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery/opinion - By JAMES HOUGHTON

The bet­ter weather means farm­ers should be get­ting their heads back above wa­ter and with some rou­tine re­turn­ing to work­loads.

Now is the time to catch up on some of the things that have fallen by the way­side in the midst of wild win­ter weather and calv­ing or lamb­ing.

One of those things may have been the in­tro­duc­tion of the Na­tional An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Trac­ing (NAIT) scheme which is now com­pul­sory.

Like it or loathe it, NAIT is not dis­ap­pear­ing so make sure you know your obli­ga­tions.

The Vari­a­tion 6 wa­ter con­sent­ing process is also be­gin­ning.

The Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil (WRC) is hold­ing meet­ings around the re­gion to make sure ev­ery­one knows what they have to do to com­ply.

I think it is in the in­ter­est of ev­ery farmer to make sure they un­der­stand what is re­quired of them.

Hav­ing gone through the pro­tracted process of get­ting WRC’s Vari­a­tion 6 rules around wa­ter sorted out, I have a lot of sym­pa­thy for our south­ern neigh­bours who farm in the Hori­zons Re­gional Coun­cil’s ter­ri­tory.

Farm­ers ev­ery­where are wait­ing anx­iously to see if the rules handed down by the En­vi­ron­ment Court a cou­ple of weeks ago will in fact al­low pri­mary in­dus­tries to continue to op­er­ate prof­itably there.

The En­vi­ron­ment Court’s de­ci­sion to re­turn many im­por­tant as­pects of the re­gional plan al­most ex­actly to the orig­i­nal pro­posed plan, rather than the rec­om­men­da­tions of the in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion­ers fol­low­ing a rig­or­ous and de­tailed hear­ing process, was a dis­ap­point­ing de­ci­sion for the farm­ers who could now find that farm­ing in that re­gion is un­eco­nomic.

It is also dis­ap­point­ing that many of the groups who per­sisted in call­ing for the more dra­co­nian rules to be im­ple­mented are the same who rely on farm­ers’ good­will, which I would say is dry­ing up very quickly at the mo­ment.

Re­al­is­ti­cally, who would in­vite, or even al­low, hunters or an­glers on their farm when they are part of an or­gan­i­sa­tion try­ing to limit your abil­ity to ef­fec­tively op­er­ate your busi­ness?

The irony is, by plac­ing rules on farm­ers to cap pro­duc­tion and in­come, the plan is more likely to hurt the en­vi­ron­ment than help it.

A farmer with no money can­not af­ford to vol­un­tar­ily re­tire land and pay to fence off wa­ter­ways.

Also, unchecked gorse tak­ing over aban­doned farm­land could leach more ni­tro­gen into wa­ter­ways than man­aged dairy herds ever did.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if this plan is taken up as a prece­dent in other ar­eas of the coun­try or if other coun­cils will grasp the folly of reg­u­lat­ing away the vi­a­bil­ity of pri­mary in­dus­tries.

I see there are al­ready re­ports start­ing to hit the head­lines of sheep be­ing stolen by rustlers, and I urge all farm­ers to take proper se­cu­rity pre­cau­tions to de­ter would-be thieves.

There has also been a spate of thefts of quad and farm bikes, scrap metal and even elec­tric fenc­ing in many ar­eas.

It may seem like a bit of an out­lay to in­stall cam­eras, but there have been cases re­cently where a few hun­dred dol­lars worth of in­vest­ment has proven its worth by catch­ing crim­i­nals.

Lock­ing gates and sheds, hav­ing a quick chat with the stranger parked in­con­gru­ously on the side of the road and per­haps start­ing up a neigh­bour­hood-watch-style group in your community could all be ways to help pre­vent theft.

It is rea­son­ably clear that a lot of theft is to or­der, so also do not ac­cept deals down the pub at too-goodto-be-true prices.

This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant when it comes to dodgy meat packs.

You never know if that meat is safe to eat.

Many of the an­i­mals rus­tled and poached each year have just been drenched or are ac­tu­ally be­ing treated by vets.

These an­i­mals are strictly mon­i­tored and have a with­hold­ing pe­riod be­fore the medicine has worked its way through their sys­tem and they are again safe for hu­man con­sump­tion.

Eat­ing the meat from these could make you and your fam­ily very sick, so while the price of meat at the butcher may seem a bit dear, be safe and stick to that.

James Houghton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.