Reforms get backing

Agribusiness leader Nicky Hyslop says farm environment plans are more important than ever to...
Agribusiness leader Nicky Hyslop says farm environment plans are more important than ever to demonstrate strong farming practices. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
South Canterbury farmer and agribusiness leader Nicky Hyslop believes the Government’s freshwater reforms provide a good opportunity for farmers to strengthen political engagement and demonstrate sustainable farming practices.

Mrs Hyslop runs a 227ha sheep, beef and cropping farm, The Levels, near Timaru with husband Jonty.

The farm management graduate with honours has a wide range of knowledge in extensive and intensive farming practices, having grown up on a high-country station and previously worked for 20 years in the sheep, beef and deer industry as a registered farm adviser.

She is a director at Ravensdown, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Venture Timaru, and a director and vice-chairwoman at Opuha Water Ltd.

She was the board chairwoman and a director of Irrigation New Zealand from 2008 to 2019.

The business of running their farm has given her invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities farmers have ahead.

"There is a tight walk that we find ourselves in as farmers, on one hand, feeling really frustrated that the language we speak is not readily taken up by the Government," Mrs Hyslop said.

"On the other hand, we wholeheartedly agree with the overall intent of what is trying to be achieved — really good outcomes for freshwater."

Farming communities had been proactively discussing freshwater reforms for the past three to five years, Mrs Hyslop said.

"This is not a new topic ...

"Certainly, when we now see requirements from freshwater reforms, farm environment plans are going to become more important than ever to demonstrate our farming practices," she said.

"I think this is a really good opportunity to work with the Government and ensure that those plans are a whole lot more than a regulatory burden.

"We have certainly spoken about our frustrations through this process, particularly in the last throes of freshwater reforms when we felt the process was rushed.

"There are areas that we see in the details of the rules that we think need working on.

"I think it is about getting around the table a whole lot earlier and seeing real engagement."


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