Water action plan welcomed

Primary sector organisations have welcomed the launch of a action plan to support farmers and growers to implement good farming practices that will improve freshwater quality.

The aim of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality was to ensure every farmer and grower had a Farm Environment Plan (FEP).

The plan’s 21 principles included actions around nutrient management, minimising risks to water quality, managing land and soil risks, ensuring effluent systems were adequate, and managing irrigation.

It was jointly developed by primary sector groups, regional councils and the ministries of environment and primary industries.

Governance group spokesman Sam McIvor, who is chief executive of Beef and Lamb New Zealand, said it was exciting to see central and regional government, and farming and growing communities working together to improve water quality.

About a third of all farmers and growers had some form of formal plan, and others were taking actions (such as excluding stock from waterways, creating riparian strips, putting in sediment traps, and poplar planting) without a formal plan.

The goal now was to support and encourage the rest of the growing and farming community to adopt the principles from the action plan.

"As an industry, we see the aims of the ... plan as completely achievable," he said.

Irrigation NZ chairwoman Nicky Hyslop said the majority of irrigators already had FEPs in place or were preparing them.

DairyNZ strategy and investment leader — responsible dairy Dr David Burger said the initiative was significant because it had been developed and agreed on between central and local government and the primary sector.

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