FED Talk - Otto Dogterom, March 26th

It has been an interesting season.

We started off with a low forecast payout of about $6.75 which put a lot of stress on the budgets. Luckily the payout lifted considerably which eased the pressure.

Before Christmas, the growing conditions were quite good. Since then we haven’t had any significant rain and the dryland crops are suffering. Hopefully we are going to see some good rains in the near future.

Production for the district is up by 3%, helped by the good conditions on the farms through the reliable water supply from the Waitaki River.

Just recently, we had another example of mismanagement of public reserve land because of the ignorance of the policy makers who choose not to work with the local rural community.

Thirty hectares of Department of Conservation land went up in flames after it had not been grazed for five years, which puts the locals and the environment at risk.

On a local level, we had a win with the Waitaki District Council, after a lot of protest by affected farmers, ratepayers and Federated Farmers, and with the help of our local MP Miles Anderson and councillors Hopkins, McCone, Percival and Thomson it was voted on that there would not be any overlays over productive agricultural land.

It showed that if we take action and work together we can change the direction the country is traveling and create a better future for our children and community.

We still have to keep the scrutiny up on the council to make sure the use of public funds is used for the benefit of the citizens in an efficient mater and minimises wastage.

It was disappointing to see the Otago Regional Council to decide to push along with the land and water plan, unwilling to wait on new directions from central government .

The Otago Water Plan is based on water samplings done between 2012 and 2018. It does not give any credit to the improvements and legislation like the clean stream accord, the 190 rule or the intensive winter grazing plans introduced since then.

The council has not got the patience to see what positive effects these rules have on the water quality and is busy expanding its bureaucratic empire.

The same is at play here. There has been great consultation with local iwi and environmental groups, but the local rural population has been kept out of the process.

If they would work with us, respect our local knowledge and use the carrot instead of the stick, the outcomes would be a lot better and a lot more cost-effective .

As you can see, we have got to be united in our involvement with local, regional and national authorities.

"United we stand, divided we fall!"

 - By Otto Dogterom