We are committed to New Zealand’s rivers being swimmable for our children and grandchildren.
DairyNZ chair, Michael Spaans, says “this is a clear message from New Zealand’s farming leaders that we want our rivers to be in a better state than they are now, and agriculture needs to help get them there.
“I have joined my fellow leaders to stand up and say that I want my grandchildren, and one day my great grandchildren, to be able to swim in the same rivers that I did growing up.
“I don’t know one farmer who doesn’t care deeply about their land, and who doesn’t want to leave it in a better state than they came to it.”
The pledge comes from the Farming Leaders Group, an informal group of New Zealand pastoral farming leaders established in May to work on issues of importance to the sector.
DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle, says “dairy has been on this journey for many years and I’m proud of what our farmers have achieved so far. More work is required and we need to keep going forward.
“At the launch of the third year of results of the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord in May, the dairy sector celebrated that 97 percent of dairy waterways are excluded from dairy cattle. Dairy waterways are planted with millions of native trees to create strong riparian margins to ‘sop up’ nutrients. And as of June last year, almost 27,000km of dairy waterways had been fenced, and more than 99.4 percent of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts.
“Our farmers have personally invested over $1 billion on environmental initiatives, including protecting their waterways by planting and fencing their riparian margins and managing their effluent. DairyNZ has spent more than $18.5 million on research and development, and a further $10.6 million on environmental work last year. Even with this investment and a strong commitment to nutrient and effluent management, we are still not where we need to be.
“Today is about saying we are all committed to playing our part to help create a better New Zealand for everyone.”
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To read the full pledge from the Farming Leaders Group click here.
You can read more about what the dairy sector have been doing to protect and support dairy waterways on farm in the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord and see some of the research already underway to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and nutrient runoff into waterways.
- Waterways riparian planting
- Waterways fencing
- Forages for reduced nitrate leaching – six year programme aimed at reducing nitrate leaching by 20%
- Pastoral 21 research is being applied on operating farms to reduce nutrient losses
Farming Leaders Group
The current membership is Mike Petersen (sheep and beef farmer), Michael Spaans (dairy farmer and DairyNZ chair), James Parsons (sheep and beef farmer and Beef + Lamb NZ chair), John Loughlin (Meat Industry Association chair), Katie Milne (dairy farmer and Federated Farmers president), Bruce Wills (sheep and beef farmer and Ravensdown director), and John Wilson (dairy farmer and Fonterra chair).