Help at hand for farmers with FWFP introduction

The Ravensdown support team of principal consultant Kelly Morris, from left, planner and policy...
The Ravensdown support team of principal consultant Kelly Morris, from left, planner and policy analyst Ella Shields, senior agri manager Eilish Burrows, and senior farm environmental consultant Sonya Perkin, train at a Pamu farm on the West Coast. PHOTO: RAVENSDOWN
A specialist team from a fertiliser co-op is helping farmers get their heads around freshwater regulations.

The Ravensdown team has farm environment planning qualifications to support farmers with Freshwater Farm Plans (FWFPs).

National training was held with Pāmu staff at its Bell Hill Farm on the West Coast.

Exercises focused on identifying and reducing risks and developing skills for preparing and certifying the plans.

Environmental consultancy manager Arron Hutton said the team had begun working with farmers in Southland, but there was more work ahead of them to help about 34,000 farm owners comply with the new regulations by the end of 2025.

"We’ve essentially got two years before all farms in New Zealand are looking to begin the Freshwater Farm Plan process.

He said most farmers were already doing the right thing for protecting waterways and catchments.

"It’s about supporting them to link this back to a catchment context. But finding time and having the specialist knowledge for plan development can be a bit tricky when it’s just one of many on-farm requirements that farmers have to juggle."

Pāmu West Coast business manager Cameron Walker said the plans formed part of a much larger body of work they were carrying out.

"We learnt a lot by hosting the training. It’s given us a good head-start towards planning for the West Coast Freshwater Farm Plan rollout in the new year and means we won’t be leaving anything to chance."

Mr Hutton said Ravensdown was still investigating options for delivering the plans.

Options included extending existing farm environment plan templates to a digital or automated system once demand for FWFPs increased.


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