Comment: Fieldays is an opportunity for Federated Farmers to get some valuable face-to-face time with its members, writes North Island Regional Policy Manager Dr Paul Le Mière.
Getting to the heart of the matter is what we at Federated Farmers are about.
Federated Farmers is at the National Agricultural Fieldays this week.
It's New Zealand's biggest agricultural show and for me it is always a great chance to have a good chat to farmers from around the country, and sometimes beyond, about what is happening in their patch.
It is also a good opportunity for all farmers to find out a bit more about what is going on in their industry and what issues and opportunities are coming their way.
The Federated Farmers National Board, provincial presidents, and myself have been having some in-depth and insightful discussions at Fieldays with many farmers and there are a number of key themes emerging.
Read more from Federated Farmers here.
Farmers are talking to us about the Climate Change proposals from the Government, the costs of the numerous regulations being foisted on them, such as the Waikato 'Healthy Rivers PC1' plan change, the rapid increase in corporate forestry buying drystock land in the North Island and numerous other questions and worries.
I had a great chat with a farmer who is being charged by his local council over $3000 in consenting fees to put in a small crossing over a small stream that is only costing $3600 to build and install.
He is doing this so he can harvest a small block of forestry.
He is trying to do the right thing and make sure he does not negatively impact the stream with the work, but was aghast by the consenting fees for a tiny crossing which is basically double his cost.
This is the sort of thing that Federated Farmers' regional teams help members out with and we will be investigating further for him. We are like a rural version of 'Fair Go'.
As we are in the Waikato, there have also been plenty of members worried and asking questions about the proposed rules in the Waikato Regional Council's PC1 proposed plan change.
Some of these rules are onerous on farmers and will not achieve the desired outcomes in an efficient or effective way.
Members were very grateful when I could explain what is being proposed in detail and importantly reassure them Federated Farmers has put huge resources into developing an alternative proposal, which we are currently presenting to the appointed panel during the plan's hearings.
Federated Farmers is there to represent our members and that is why it's great for staff and elected farmers to have this valuable face-to-face time with our members.
If you need something or you have an inkling something isn't quite right – become a member and let us help you.