Drystock farmers urged to have say
Time is running out for sheep and beef farmers in Waikato to have their say on the likely impact of looming new water management policy on their businesses.
And as there are 3700 drystock farms in the Waikato catchments that stand to be affected by the coming policy on nitrate, phosphorous, bacteria and sediment runoff to rivers, waterways and groundwater in the region, that is a concern for James Bailey, official drystock sector representative on the Waikato Healthy Rivers collaborative stakeholder group.
Bailey, a Tirau farmer, said too few of those farms’ owners are probably prepared for the change that is coming in regional council policy.
‘‘People need to have a good handle on nutrient cycles on their farm. There are going to be limits and targets coming out of this process.
‘‘Farmers need to understand nutrient management, have a plan and budget and get on the front foot with farm planning. Farm planning has been a big topic of conversation (around policy development) and those on the front foot will have an advantage.’’
Bailey said farmers should find out about policy development and get involved in the discussions by contacting him on email@example.com and the Healthy Rivers website.
Drystock sector meetings for the Healthy Rivers project, organised by Beef+ Lamb, are being held at: Ohinewai Hall, June 30, 11am; Putaruru Central Kids Conference Centre, July 7, 11am; Otorohanga Working Men’s Club, July 14, 11am.
‘‘The big thing for me is that I believe there’s potential to increase profitability while achieving better environmental outcomes by managing our capital well,’’ Bailey said.
‘‘I am trying hard to communicate this so that the policy fosters innovation and allows farmers to retain control of the complexities within their farming systems while moving towards more sustainable outcomes.’’
The collaborative stakeholders’ group is due to make a policy recommendation, on behalf of the various sectors it represents, to the Waikato Healthy Rivers committee by November.
Bailey said that the policy recommendation was scheduled to be converted into policy by April next year.
Tirau sheep, beef and dairy farmer