Noslam to assist planning

Feeling overwhelmed about freshwater farm plans? North Otago Sustainable Land Management (Noslam) is here to help.

Dates were last year confirmed by the government for the phased rollout in Otago of freshwater farm plans, giving farmers and growers certainty as to when they need to begin work preparing their plans.

The regulations require properties over a certain size to have a certified and audited freshwater farm plan in place, and will come into effect in Otago from February 1 next year, starting with North Otago.

With Noslam’s Jobs for Nature-funded "super successful" riparian project — in which more than 35,000 plants were planted at 31 sites around the district — coming to an end, the organisation had its next project in place, engagement officer Nic Neal said.

It had drawn government funding for integrated farm planning , a focus for Noslam as farmers faced a growing body of compliance, including freshwater farm plans.

With the support of nutrient and environmental adviser Kate Macgregor, it would hold woolshed meetings involving small groups of farmers and tailored workshops.

"We’re trying to unpack it into bite-sized chunks with them", Mrs Neal said.

The idea was the sessions would reduce the "overwhelming-ness" that could be felt by farmers, and they would leave either ready, or close to, for their plan to be certified.

It was hoped to hold the first meeting in mid-March and busy times on farm would be avoided.

Noslam also hoped to work with smallholders, many of whom were unaware of the need for freshwater plans, Mrs Neal said.

Noslam would also look to offer help with things such as first-aid training and health and safety, wherever it was felt there was a gap.