A farmer advocate group, Farmers 4 Positive Change (F4PC) is running a series of meetings on water quality which all farmers are urged to attend.
In October 2016 Waikato Regional Council notified the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan that introduced rulesto improve water quality in the Waikato and Waipa catchments.
F4PC have been working on the farmers' behalf to inform and guide them through this process. The group has an alternative to the plan that it says is both workable and equitable.
At the meetings F4PC members will discuss critical points around contaminant loss on farm.
"If we are to truly uphold the values linked to our marketing campaigns underpinned by sustainability messaging including 100 per cent pure clean and green, we must respond favourably and redesign some of the principles behind our farm management practices," says F4PC chairman sheep and beef farmer Rick Burke.
"This council redesign cannot be built around one-size-fits-all rules that lock in grandparenting, forcibly restraining one land user their rightful opportunity while giving others the licence to continue discharging high contaminant loss."
"We believe to promote long-term sustainability and achieve better water quality linked to swimmability, Mahinga Kai and ecosystem health we must understand what the contaminant issues are in every individual sub-catchment, whether from natural, diffuse and point sources.
"It should be the responsibility of all community sectors, urban and rural to then work on this collaboratively yet proportionally together."
F4PC supports farmers preparing a Farm Environment Plan (FEP). This allows farmers to better manage what is happening on their farm, and the critical source areas and other issues that may affect water quality.
"Crucially it also allows farmers to plan forward the work schedule in a more favourable manner so allowing reasonable time frames for a redesign of their farms or change their farm systems if necessary as this will be crucial to success.
As is getting unity among farmer groups," says Rick.
The meetings are:
*May 22, 1pm at Onewhero Rugby Club.
* May 22, 7pm at Kentucky lounge, Te Rapa Racecourse.
* May 23, 6:30pm at the Les Munro Centre, Te Kuiti.
The meetings will refresh, update and engage farmers, providing:
* an update on Plan Change 1,
* an alternative plan for nitrogen allocation
* and F4PC funding requirements for expert witnesses to present at hearings.