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A new clause in Fonterra's terms of conditions of supply, requiring farmer suppliers to keep stock out of waterways, will contribute to the quality of New Zealand's lakes, rivers and streams, the dairy co-operative says.
Since signing the Clean Streams Accord eight years ago, the co-operative had made "measurable progress" on protecting waterways, while the Every Farm Every Year programme introduced last year had achieved improvements in effluent compliance.
"We are heading in the right direction and are now taking the next step by introducing a clause that will mean the co-operative's 10,500 suppliers will be required to fence all Accord waterways on their farms," general manager milk supply Steve Murphy said.
Fonterra was committed to "doing its bit" to look after the environment. Ensuring stock stayed out of lakes, rivers and streams was fundamental to maintaining water quality and the new clause set a clear standard for all its farmers.
A lot of good work had already been done by farmers taking voluntary action to ensure all waterways on their properties were fenced. Now it was time to build on what had been achieved by setting a co-operative-wide standard that ensured those "lagging behind" did what was expected, Mr Murphy said.
Fonterra was going to work with those who needed to catch up by putting environmental improvement plans in place.
Farmers have 18 months from the beginning of next season to become compliant with the new condition of supply.
Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper said it was important for all Fonterra farmers to "act as champions of the company and of dairy farming in everything they do" and taking the lead on sustainability issues was a great start.
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink described it as an important environmental step forward.
• Australian farmer-owned dairy company Murray Goulburn Co-operative will begin offering dairy product, in the form of lactose, on Fonterra's online trading platform GlobalDairyTrade from April next year.
Murray Goulburn is the third participant in GlobalDairyTrade, joining Fonterra and Dairy America.