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An advisory group has been created to help Southland farmers implement new freshwater regulations.
A hui was held recently to establish the group, which was attended by farming leaders, industry representatives, regional council staff and Government officials.
Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said the hui was prompted by a desire to work with the Southland community to find practical solutions to conform to
the new freshwater regulations, particularly focusing on intensive winter grazing provisions.
The advisory group was one of the outcomes of a meeting between Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and farming leaders and ES staff and councillors last week.
It was agreed Fish & Game and iwi would be invited to be a part of the group.
Federated Farmers Southland vice-president Bernadette Hunt said at an event in Invercargill on Monday those in the industry were working to make the information clear for farmers and highlight aspects of the policies that might create issues for farmers.
She called it a balancing act between pointing out issues and avoiding creating a sense of ‘‘doom and gloom’’ for farmers.
Mr Horrell said he felt the ministers listened and were keen to receive advice.
“The group will focus on providing recommendations on fine-tuning the regulations on intensive winter grazing, as well as looking at the role farm environment plans could play in the implementation of the regulations.”
Those attending the hui acknowledged that there was
a need to improve water quality in Southland and the advisory group would focus on achieving this in a practical way.
The group will liaise regularly with the wider hui members as well as the Otago Regional Council, Environment Canterbury and the wider regional sector.
The first meeting of the advisory group will be held this week.