Gisborne to lead on sustainable dairying?

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What is the price of milk? In New Zealand the cost of dairy is that two thirds of our native fish are classified as either at risk or threatened.

After decades of polluting land and water, the dairy industry has finally published a voluntary code in an effort to at least make some effort to clean up their act. My first impression of the new ‘Sustainable Dairying Water Accord‘ is positive as it covers all regions including Gisborne and all dairy companies and farmers supplying them.

Stock exclusion from waterways, riparian planting, nutrient management systems and other good things are all going to be considered industry best practice and will now apply to all dairy farmers.

Gisborne only has a few dairy farms and our Council is understandably taking a low key approach to the new Accord. There is however a big opportunity for us here.

The Council is the local regulator and represents the wider public interest in protecting water quality. Ten years of a previous Accord showed that councils have to be vigilant to ensure that farmers meet their responsibilities under their resource consents to discharge dairy shed effluent.

The small numbers of dairy farms here mean it should be easy for us to get it right. Council recently took a dairy farmer to court for breaching the consent conditions, but we will be able to work closely with farmers to ensure the new Sustainable Dairy Farming Accord is adhered to and avoid the need for future enforcement action.

Let’s hope that our farms are the best in the country and that we can show the rest of New Zealand how to live up to the 100% PURE brand we all aspire to make a reality.

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