Water Accord update indicates environmental progress by farmers

The latest progress report from the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, indicates that dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.

According to the report’s figures, 99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes. No fewer than 9,517 nutrient budgets were processed and nitrogen information provided to farmers, representing 83% of the industry.

The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. The Year Three update reveals that among the targets achieved, stock exclusion now amounts to 26,197 km of measured waterways – the equivalent distance of Auckland to Chicago and back again.

The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in July 2013 setting out the dairy industry’s commitment to New Zealand and improving water quality. It includes a set of national good management practice benchmarks aimed at lifting environmental performance on dairy farms, along with commitments to targeted riparian planting plans, effluent management, comprehensive standards for new dairy farms and measures to improve the efficiency of water and nutrient use on farms.

The Accord has been developed with the input of farmers, dairy companies, central Government, regional councils and the Federation of Māori Authorities.