Beef + Lamb steps up farm plans push

Matt Harcombe
Matt Harcombe
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) is ''on a mission'' to continuously improve its Land and Environment Plan (LEP) programme as a key part of implementing its environment strategy, which was released in May.

Environment capability manager South Island Matt Harcombe said a survey of LEP workshop participants was carried out from October 2017 to March this year, and the findings would help improve the LEP resources and how they were delivered to farmers.

''We want to continue to build farmers' confidence in the process of developing farm plans and understand how we can work with others to co-ordinate better support for farmers as well as encourage them to work together at a larger catchment-scale,'' Mr Harcombe said.

''It is part of continuing our support for farmers to build their own environment capability and take ownership and leadership of environmental challenges and opportunities that come with farming.''

He said BLNZ started holding LEP workshops about five years ago, but it had only been in the past three or four years the workshops had been available to farmers on any scale.

''We felt it was timely to review the programme,'' he said.

''We did both a quantitative and qualitative survey last year, which covered farmers throughout New Zealand by telephone and on-farm visits.

''We wanted to understand how the workshops and resources offered by B+LNZ were complementary to other providers' plans and how well they were helping farmers to meet regulatory requirements from regional councils.''

He said the information from the workshops was intended to support farmers in their decision-making and on-farm management plan development, and that where plans are required by regional councils, these needed to be strenuous enough to meet auditable regulatory requirements and measured against any standards required by that regional plan.

There were so many opportunities within the process of developing a farm environment plan to support farmers to think differently about how their current land use matched the natural resources they had to work with.

''Farmers could identify how to manage more challenging and less productive on-farm areas, how fertility transfer takes place within a paddock and how this might impact on nutrient loss, how a subdivision or development programme would impact their land management or risks to soil health and water quality and identify the critical source areas and how to manage those.''

''How BLNZ supports farmers to develop a farm environment plan through its workshops and resources offered will continue to evolve over the next six months, with the ultimate goal of every farmer having an active plan by the end of 2021,'' he said.

Add a Comment