New dairy report emphasises every day is water day

NEW ZEALAND - A small but significant number of dairy farmers are compromising the quality of waterways by failing to control effluent and nutrient run-off, according to the latest Snapshot of Progress on the Clean Streams Accord.
calendar icon 22 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope chose World Water Day to release the findings of the third annual report of the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord at a dairy farm in Taranaki.

David Benson-Pope congratulated the Taranaki Regional Council for its farm planning programme, which requires planting along streams, and praised the farmers who have taken the necessary steps to help Fonterra meet its commitments under the Accord.

"These farmers are reducing their nutrient run-off by building bridges, culverts and fences to stop cattle from entering waterways, and by replanting stream verges," David Benson-Pope said. "The investment they are making in the environment now will make their dairy business viable well into the future.

"However, ten percent of Fonterra dairy farmers are putting the environment at risk by ignoring effluent disposal requirements. The target is 100 percent compliance, effective immediately."

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said the report is a timely reminder of what most dairy farmers are doing to reduce their impact on waterways. "and companies such as Fonterra are to be commended for coming up with practical, industry-led solutions to improving nutrient management on farms."

"Environmental management is core business for the modern farmer and this year's Accord results show that most dairy farmers understand this," Jim Anderton said.

However, the Report also found that only 33 percent of surveyed farmers have systems in place to manage nutrient inputs and outputs, when the Accord committed all dairy farms to this by 2007.

"Nutrient management plans are not just about nutrient budgets and they are an essential part of modern dairy farming. If the Accord is to be a success then these management plans are not optional," Jim Anderton said. "If the sector wants to avoid much greater regulation, they must adhere to their voluntary targets."

"As evidenced by the Sustainable Water Plan of Action, this Labour-Progressive coalition government is committed to protecting New Zealand's precious waterways. All New Zealanders need to make every day 'world water day', but particularly so the land managers who use the vast majority of extracted water," Jim Anderton said.

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