Fonterra farm environment plan template given the green light

Environment Canterbury this week confirmed that Fonterra’s farm environment plan template meets the requirements of the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (LWRP).

Under the Land & Water Regional Plan, all farms requiring a land use consent to farm must produce an environmental plan to support it.  Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said the Fonterra template made that process a lot easier and exceeded the regulatory requirements of Schedule 7 of the LWRP.

The Land & Water Regional Plan is a primary delivery mechanism of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Under Schedule 7 of the Land & Water Regional Plan, farm environment plans can be prepared either by landowners themselves or via industry-prepared templates and guidance material.

All farm environment plans must include an assessment of the adverse environmental effects and risks associated with the farming activities and how those effects and risks will be managed.  This includes irrigation, application of nutrients, effluent, stock exclusion from waterways, offal pits and farm rubbish pits.  Farm environment plans must be auditable.

Schedule 7 of the LWRP is subject to several changes in the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5, currently under appeal) including the addition of matters set out in sub-region plans.  These include important things such as identification of further features such as flood protection works, public access management of phosphorus risk zones and management of sites with mahinga kai.

Fonterra has included these items in its template, including sections specific to the Selwyn Te Waihora and Waitaki zones, avoiding the need to update the template once Plan Change 5 becomes operative unless changes are made to the Schedule.

Mat Cullen, Fonterra Farmer Solutions Manager, said the template was part of the Co-operative’s Tiaki Sustainable Dairying programme that enables farmers to use specialised regional knowledge, expertise and services to support best practice farm management and meet regulatory requirements.