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Published: 2011-06-08 00:00:00

The theme of farmers “Caring locally, competing globally” will be the feature of the Waikato Regional Council’s Fieldays stand between 15 June and 18 June.

“Our message reinforces the fact that good environmental stewardship by our farmers helps support agriculture’s productivity and underpins our clean, green brand in overseas markets,” said council chairman Peter Buckley, a North Waikato dairy farmer.

Mr Buckley said climatic extremes of extended wet weather followed by drought in the past season underlined how important it was to ensure good practice is in place to help buffer farming from the impact of the unexpected.

“It’s essential we proactively enhance regional farming productivity and reputation so that regardless of what nature or international market conditions throw at us, we can continue to compete on the world stage.

"A spin-off of protecting the natural resources supporting farming is that they also underpin our hugely important Waikato tourism sector.”

He said that with agriculture playing such a key role in the Waikato, a key council priority would be to continue supporting farming and its ability to be environmentally sustainable.

“We currently spend some $32 million a year – a third of our budget – on services that protect people, property and the environment, and also assist agriculture to be sustainably productive and internationally competitive.”

Mr Buckley encouraged farmers to drop in at the council’s Fieldays stand inside the main pavilion at site PF17.

“We’d like to hear your ideas for how the council and farmers can work together best to achieve a vision for Waikato of a region caring locally, competing globally.”

Council’s spend benefitting agriculture 2010-11*

Flood, drainage and catchment management $22 million
Pest control $7 million
Sustainable agriculture services including policy and environmental monitoring $0.9 million
Agricultural advice $1.1 million
Permitted activity and consent monitoring $1 million
Total of agriculture-related spending $32 million
Total council annual budget $100.5 million

*Both direct and indirect benefits