Federated Farmers executive members (from left) meat and
fibre chairman Simon McAtamney, of Puketi, dairy chairman
Stephen Crawford, of Clydevale, president Stephen Korteweg,
of Kaitangata, and vice-president Phill Hunt, of Maungawera
Valley, at the Federated Farmers Otago annual meeting
yesterday. Photo by Leith Huffadine.
Signing off the Otago Regional Council's 6A water plan
was the ''big one'' when it came to Federated Farmers Otago's
achievements in the past year.
In his report to the province's annual meeting in Alexandra
yesterday, president Stephen Korteweg said it had been
another challenging and mostly satisfying year.
There were 12 interested parties involved in negotiations
with the ORC on the water plan and Federated Farmers South
Island regional policy manager Kim Reilly was
''instrumental'' throughout the process and in what was
achieved, Mr Korteweg said.
It was ''no mean feat'' that it did not end up going through
the Environment Court and all parties, along with the ORC,
should be commended.
''Had it gone through the Environment Court, we would have
been faced with a lot more costs and maybe worse still, an
outcome based on the ruling of the judge of the day,'' he
Implementation of the plan would be the next big challenge,
Mr Korteweg said.
Federated Farmers Otago dairy chairman Stephen Crawford urged
all farmers to become familiar with the implications of 6A on
their businesses, saying to not do so would be a ''fatal
''You need to understand what impact your farming system has
on the environment.
''In a nutshell, consider the quality of water entering your
property and the quality of any water exiting your
Mr Crawford urged farmers to put some time into it and get
help if they needed to. Most importantly, they had to
understand their farm's impact and plan to make changes if
that was required, he said.
The dairy industry's biggest challenge in New Zealand was the
public's perception of it regarding the environment. Fish and
Game and Forest and Bird had very public campaigns on their
views regarding dairy, its expansion and even existence.
''We hear very little in the appropriate places to counter
this. We must try and alter this negative perspective,'' Mr
He believed DairyNZ had to be more proactive in that area,
while farmers must also help themselves.
Plan 6A was also raised at North Otago Federated Farmers'
annual meeting in Oamaru on Thursday.
President Richard Strowger, who was re-elected for another
term, said the wet conditions being experienced could have a
major effect on water quality through the winter.
Farmers had to work through ways to reduce the runoff of
nutrients as the plan set clear requirements to be achieved.
''Some of our past methods will no longer satisfy the
requirements of 6A,'' Mr Strowger said.
Dairy chairman Lyndon Strang said the water plan result
seemed to be workable for most farmers and the ORC appeared
to be open and willing to work with farmers to get to the
''What happens between now and 2020 will be crucial and the
work with 6A is definitely not completed.
''We will continue to be involved to ensure that limits and
levels are workable and that managing the requirements does
not become an administrative nightmare,'' Mr Strang said.
Mr Korteweg, a South Otago dairy farmer, said it was one of
the better grass and crop-growing seasons in Otago that he
had seen in his farming career.
Dairy and forestry have had record prices for produce, with
big demand coming out of China. Arable had been good, while
meat and fibre were trailing in prices and the effects of
last year's drought were affecting lamb numbers.
New Zealand's increasing reliance on China and what happened
within its economy was a little worrying, he said.
The challenging aspect came from the increased workload that
seemed to be coming Federated Farmers' way.
There were ever-increasing requests from both inside and
outside the rural lobby organisation for advice and
representation ''on just about everything to do with
farming''. However, it was pleasing the province's input and
advice was valued, he said.
Farmer representation on boards and organisations was
becoming increasingly short, but harder to find.
More people had to be encouraged to take active roles in
representing the farming sector for the future, Mr Korteweg