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Published: 2012-05-31 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council’s stand at Fieldays 2012 will have a strong focus on providing farmers with information on protecting profits as well as the environment.

“The council’s stand at site PF17 in the main pavilion will be offering advice on a range of methods farmers can use to both protect water quality and farm more cost effectively,” said council chairman Peter Buckley, a north Waikato dairy farmer.

“The Waikato River and our other waterways – such as the Waipa, the Waihou and the Piako - help shape and define our region. They’re a key part of our landscapes and Waikato’s identity.

“As a born and bred Waikato farmer, I’m committed to protecting those waterways and I know many examples of my fellow farmers working hard on this front too.

“We all know good water quality supports a range of environmental, social and cultural values, as well as making sure we farmers have the water we need to operate our business effectively.”

Mr Buckley said, however, that water quality in the region was being significantly compromised.

Therefore, Fieldays 2012 was a very important opportunity for the council to discuss with farmers their role in making changes to the way the region’s water resources are protected.

Those changes are already happening on a variety of fronts through various mechanisms such as:

  • Co-management of the Waikato River with iwi
  • Consideration of a regional plan change to give effect to the new Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River and to set targets or limits for water quality as required by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
  • Implementation of the new Variation 6 rules on water allocation.

 "These last two areas are particularly relevant to farmers. Variation 6 will involve many of us making new resource consent applications for water takes, while a regional plan change could affect the way we farm.

 “At the core of this work on water is the need to ensure we have the right framework to support our environmental and economic goals as a region.

 “I personally find it very satisfying that many individual farmers, agricultural businesses and organisations, our iwi partners and community organisations are already working together very constructively on this. Getting things right will be a big challenge for all of us. I sincerely thank all farmers and their representatives for the effort they are putting into meeting that challenge head on.”