Environment and animal welfare advocate Angus Robson says he's not trying to stir up trouble when he heads to Southland to keep an eye on winter grazing practices.
"I've heard that there's been a lot of improvements made and really I want to see for myself," he told The Country's Jamie Mackay.
Intensive winter grazing happens when stock are strip fed a crop - but when done poorly, the practice can create animal welfare and environmental issues.
Robson had spent the last 10 years highlighting issues with intensive winter grazing around the country, and photos he took in Southland in 2019 prompted Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor to set up a winter grazing task force.
"Some farmers have moved in the right direction and have made a great effort and we've seen the results - and others haven't - and it's a matter of further seeing what we can do about the laggards that are letting the whole team down," he said.
Robson's critics said animals were supposed to live outdoors, and he agreed with that argument to a certain extent - but he believed it didn't apply to modern conditions.
"I agree that animals were designed to live outside, but they weren't designed to be forced or kept outside."
Nowadays animals lived in mud, surrounded by fences and with access to water restricted, Robson said.
"I'm not saying that a lot of farmers do that - but enough do that it's a problem.
"You can't compare how cows were evolving to how they're farmed - it's not an argument."
As a consumer of meat and dairy products, Robson said he wasn't opposed to farming, and he was happy to highlight improvements in Southland's winter grazing.
"I'm not heading down there to try and hammer people...if I do see improvement down there - and I'm sure I will - I'll fully acknowledge it."
"What I'm concerned about, is that not everybody's doing it."
Robson said these people would cause unnecessary stress for those farmers who worked hard to stick to environmental regulations.
"There's a hard core of people who will not change, who will not move with the times and who still let everybody else down."
Mackay asked Robson why he didn't focus on water issues and environmental damage in urban areas.
"There are people all over the country taking issue with urban water - and that's their thing and I wish them all the best," Robson said.
He was more concerned with New Zealand's international reputation in food production and his own personal consumption of that food.
"I could go off and do the urban thing - but it's not my thing."
Robson insisted he wasn't "picking on Southland" - he was also concerned about issues in the West Coast, the "big problem" of nitrate leaching in Canterbury, and had previously worked in Hawke's Bay and Waikato.
Mackay asked Robson if he thought his actions might put farmers under further pressure.
"I can assure any farmer who's actually trying, and doing the right thing, that's there's no way that their farm will be photographed or put in social media or on the national news or anything like that."
"It's only the extreme stuff that I'm interested in."
Finally, Mackay mentioned a photo taken after a major snow event in Southland by activist Geoff Reid, which had stirred up controversy among the farming community.
Mackay claimed the photo, which showed sheep grazing on a winter feed crop, didn't represent anything untoward, but was published anyway.
Robson said he hadn't seen the photo in question and that he didn't speak for Reid, but he knew that neither he, nor fellow environmentalist Matt Coffey, would set foot on a farm without permission.
"I mean - if you wanted to destroy a whole campaign - the best way to do it, would be to get caught on private property."