Farm Plans Overview
4 min read
A Farm Environment Plan (FEP) is a tool that outlines how a farm's resources, environment, and management system can harmonise to guard and protect the land for future generations. By 2025, all farms must have an FEP. The page guides you on how to create an effective FEP by collaborating with your dairy company or a trusted farm advisor. It includes gathering specific information about your farm, understanding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, following Good Management Practices (GMPs), and other national principles that focus on improving water quality, nutrients, waterways, land, soil, effluent, and irrigation management.
Dairy farmers have already shown their dedication to reducing environmental footprint by completing thousands of Farm Environment Plans (FEP).
All farms need to have a Farm Environment Plan by 2025. To create a FEP for your farm, you can work with your dairy company or a trusted farm advisor to develop a plan. The most effective FEP is the one with the most input from you, the farmer. In future, these plans will be referred to regularly by you.
A FEP is a tool that shows how a farm’s natural resources, environment and farm management system can best work together to deliver aspirations of kaitiakitanga (guardianship and stewardship of our land) and dedication to protecting our natural environment for future generations.
A FEP is a valuable action plan for future activities, and a record of the changes you have made. It can assist with understanding and demonstrating environmental compliance, record progress towards achieving good management, and demonstrate that you are working towards balancing farm productivity while reducing your farm’s environmental footprint.
Getting the following information together is the first step to any farm plan:
The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership - He Wake Eke Noa has released updated guidance to help farmers measure, manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – this update can replace previous versions. Farmers and farm consultants can use this guidance to incorporate the management of greenhouse gases into farm planning by:
There are 21 Good Management Practices (GMPs) that form the basis of a FEP. They are centred around the improvement of water quality (nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and faecal contaminants). Often the on-farm changes made to reach these practices have co-benefits for other environmental focus areas, such as biodiversity and mahinga kai. Regional councils may also have additional requirements, above the GMP principles, that should be included in the FEP. Your dairy company or advisor will be aware of any confirmed regional requirements.
FEPs have different names, including Farm Environment Management Plan, Farm Plan, Farm Management Plan and, most recently, Fresh Water Farm Plans. The government have announced consultation around Fresh Water Farm Plan (FWFP) requirements and processes. DairyNZ have made a strong submission to reduce duplication for dairy farmers who already have a Farm Environment Plan (which includes a strong focus on freshwater) so that an update only, not a rewrite, will be needed. DairyNZ continues to work on this.
To get started with your FEP, ask your dairy company or trusted farm advisor to work together to develop a plan.