Beef + Lamb farm environment plan template approved
Environment Canterbury announced today its approval of a farm environment plan template for the beef and lamb industry under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan.
Acknowledging the quality of the template, Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said Beef + Lamb New Zealand had met all the requirements of Schedule 7 of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan.
“We hope the farm environment plans that come from this template are valuable both for farmers and for Beef + Lamb,” Mr Bayfield said. “It was pleasing to see the Farm Environment Plan Assessment Panel commending the quality of the application and in particular the guidance notes and positive messages accompanying the template and dovetailing into the existing land and environment plan format.
“The Land & Water Regional Plan is a primary delivery mechanism of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy,” Mr Bayfield said. “It is reassuring to see in this template a methodology that will enable development of plans identifying actual and potential environmental effects and risks to properties, addresses those effects and risks, and has a high likelihood of appropriately avoiding, remedying or mitigating them.”
Under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, a farm environment plan will need to be produced in any circumstances where an application for consent to farm is required.
“There are several situations where a consent will be required at different times in future, depending on how at risk water quality is in the zone where the property is located,” Mr Bayfield said.
“Irrespective of the rules, we encourage all farmers to prepare farm environment plans. They will help identify environmental and business risks and planning for their management. International markets are increasingly demanding proven sustainability, and farm environment plans are one way to demonstrate this.”
Under Schedule 7 of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, farm environment plans can be prepared either by landowners themselves or via industry-prepared templates and guidance material.
Minimum content is specified, and all farm environment plans must include an assessment of the adverse environmental effects and risks associated with the farming activities and how those effects and risks will be managed, including irrigation, application of nutrients, effluent application, stock exclusion from waterways, offal pits and farm rubbish pits. Farm environment plans must be auditable.