Showcasing Canterbury Farming Good Management Practices

Environment Canterbury and farming leaders today welcomed the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor, to Canterbury to help them celebrate good farming practice.

Minister O’Connor said the Government had laid down clear bottom lines on water quality and welcomed the increased awareness and huge amount of mitigation taking place.

“Farming in tune with the environment shows consumers that their food is produced by people who care and forms part of the social licence that allows landowners to operate,” he said.

Environment Canterbury Councillor Tom Lambie said the Good Management Practice (GMP) “journey” started in Canterbury some years ago, and was marketed at national level by the launch in June of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality.

“Now is a good time to take stock and recognise just how far we’ve come,” Mr Lambie said. “It is four years since Industry Agreed Good Management Practices Relating to Water Quality were introduced by the primary sectors in Canterbury with a view to national adoption.

The Canterbury journey was illustrated today by a visit to an inter-generational dairy farm near Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere where innovation and sustainable management have led to an impressive value-added story, and a series of presentations.

Mr Lambie, who chaired the original group that guided the work informing the Good Management Practices each sector developed, said all the key elements of the journey were on show – continuous improvement, targeted rules and smarter tools.

Collaboration is key

“Collaboration has been key to our success at every stage,” Mr Lambie said.  “For example, practices introduced by the primary sectors were a prime example of collaboration to help address our challenging water quality issues.  The work of our water zone committees around the region since the Canterbury Water Management Strategy started in 2010 is another.”

Good management practice should be the minimum standard for the primary sector, Mr Lambie said.  “It is what every farmer would reasonably expect from their peers.  They are now identifying the environmental risks and acting to manage them.

Farm environment plans (FEPs) are central to this,” Tom Lambie concluded.  “We already have more than 3000 FEPs throughout the region, a rigorous auditing regime providing assurance, and land use consents being required of farmers in high-risk areas.  Nitrogen loss limits are set in consents.

“We welcome every opportunity to showcase all the good work that is happening in Canterbury, and today’s activities have given us that chance in a very practical way.”

Good farming practice case studies

Further information