Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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October 2015
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It has been another busy month of meetings as the consultation phase of the draft rules process continues. It was great to get feedback from members at our special general meeting last week. It's now been over a year since we launched our website and e-news. We're keen to get your feedback on these communications, so please take two minutes to complete our survey. On farm, we're needing some warm spring rain to boost grass growth particularly as we approach the effects of the El Nino weather system. Happy reading! Remember, everything you read here is on our website -
There’s death and taxes. And then there’s farming. Farmers live with a lot of uncertainty, especially weather and product prices, so we need to be able to adapt. The Collective thinks we also need to be able to adapt the nutrient rules framework over time. This “adaptive management” idea was central to the debate at the Collective’s Special General Meeting on 12 October and the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting the following day.

We feel there is enough uncertainty around the lake science and economic impact of the draft rules that we shouldn’t be individually locked into nitrogen reductions right through to 2032. A few of us have a good idea of our current nitrogen losses and what our “provisional Nitrogen Discharge Allowance” will be – but most don’t know. It’s vital that all landowners understand individually how they will be affected by the rules. We also realise it is important to make progress and honour our commitment to the 2013 Oturoa Agreement.

The Collective’s view is that the whole nitrogen package – rules, incentives, advice, farm plans and research – should continue through to 2022. We want to see more focus on farm phosphorus mitigation and how that can help keep the lake at its target water quality. That includes research to find out where the phosphorus is coming from, especially any “hot-spots”. In 2022, a science-driven decision can then be made on whether we still need to continue with additional nitrogen reductions through to 2032.

We’ve put this argument to StAG (see here for our full September paper). We need some more detail on the “2022 review trigger” and how that can work practically and legally. We also need to understand if this adaptive approach puts the publicly funded incentive scheme at risk. The regional council’s initial response was that we should regulate through to 2032 with an ability to “opt-out” in 2022 (or at other times) if the science justifies it. The problem with that is that we could be locked into land use decisions and value loss that could otherwise be avoided.

I’d rather be farming than dealing with this seemingly endless rules wrangling. But we need to get it right, so the debate continues.

From Neil Heather, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Draft region-wide water quantity rules update 
Those with dairy sheds should be aware that Bay of Plenty Regional Council is developing new water quantity rules for the whole region. The current rules require dairy sheds taking more than 35m3/day groundwater or 15m3/day surface water (for milk cooling or wash-down) to already have a resource consent.

Taking of water for stock and personal drinking water is allowed as a right under the RMA without a volume limit, so these proposed new rules are for water taken for any other use.The new rules would make groundwater and surface water takes over 15m3/day for use in the dairy shed a “controlled activity” requiring resource consent and a suitable water meter to measure usage. The controlled activity rule would minimise the bureaucracy and give certainty to all dairy farmers that they would be granted a resource consent, providing they applied within 12 months of the plan becoming operative.

To find out more, click here, or you can call Council Planner Glenys Kroon on 0800 884 881 extension 8324. The Regional Council is seeking feedback on these proposed rules by 1 December. 
What do you think of our website and e-newsletter?
It is now been over a year since the Collective launched its website and monthly e-newsletter. We'd like to get your feedback on these communication tools and explore other ways we might communicate with you.

We've put together a very short survey that will take 2 minutes to complete. We'd appreciate your feedback. Click here to get started. 
Limiting phosphorus through detainment bunds
Storm water runoff events cause 12 tonnes of phosphorus to end up in Lake Rotorua every year.  The Lake Rotorua ‘P-Project’ has been looking at detainment bunds and whether they could provide a solution for this nutrient source. Read more

Gorse Conversion Funding
Replacing the 870 hectares of gorse in the catchment with trees is estimated to reduce nitrogen leaching by about 30 tonnes per year. Gorse conversion funding is available through BOPRC. Find out more about this here.
Collective's Strategic Plan
In May this year the Collective adopted a new Strategic Plan that will guide our work programme. Our four key areas of focus over the next two years are:
  • Influencing decision makers – working with others to get good outcomes for farmers and the wider community
  • Lake catchment knowledge – accessing and using existing social, economic and scientific knowledge to inform farmers and others
  • Promoting good practice – identifying and promoting good nitrogen and phosphorus management practice
  • Research – identifying new research to inform Lake Catchment solution.
You can read more about our Strategic Plan here.
Banking on a prosperous farming future in the catchment

This month we highlight our affiliated member, Bernie Gardiner from Rabobank. 
Rabobank has been supportive of the Collective’s goals and objectives since the Collective was established in 2011. Their sponsorship enabled us to launch our website and their continued support of the Collective is valued. Bernie Gardiner has been the link-pin to this partnership.

In recognition of the anxiety and uncertainty amongst our farming clients as to how the development and implementation of new environmental regulations will impact their farming operation, Rabobank established a Land and Water Strategy Group. Bernie is one of its founding members. Read more
Investment could turn sheep milking into NZ’s next billion dollar industry
In the midst of concern about their future viability, government-owned farming giant Landcorp is diversifying into milking sheep.  Sheep milking could be a billion dollar industry in New Zealand in 10 years, according to an expert – if the right business plan is followed. Read more
New action plan to attract the workforce dairy farmers need
Attracting the skilled dairy workforce that farmers need to run their businesses is the goal of a new joint workplace action plan launched with the Minister for Primary Industries in Canterbury today by Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.
Read more
Spikey sniffs out nitrate problems
Two heavyweights of the agri-tech world were at the Grassroots Innovations Centre at Fieldays with a serious piece of kit combining the latest in robotics and chemistry to solve one of the biggest problems in dairy farming — nitrate leaching. Read more
Preparing for El Nino
Weather forecasters are predicting that the strong El Nino conditions of spring 2015 will continue over summer and into autumn 2016. El Nino 2015-2016 could rank among the 4 strongest El Nino events recorded. Find out what farmers, growers and the rural community can do to be prepared.
Read more
All geared up for the Glammies – entries now open!
The annual event aims to find New Zealand’s most tender and tasty lamb.
Farmers enter their lamb to be assessed by Carne Technologies in Cambridge for tenderness, yield, succulence and colour.All geared up for the Glammies – entries now open! Farmer entries for the 2016 Glammies close on 4 December 2015.
Collective Executive meeting
The Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective invites members to attend the monthly Executive meetings.
Date: Monday 9 November, 7:00pm
Location: Barclay House A&P Showgrounds
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) Meeting
All welcome
Date: Tuesday 10 November, 10am - 3pm
Location: Rotorua Lakes Council
B+LNZ Mid-Northern North Island farmer council AGM and dinner
Hear from two New Zealanders who know the meaning of high performance at this free dinner.
Date: Wednesday 18 November, 4.30pm
Location: The Don Rowlands Centre, 601 Maungatautari Rd, Karapiro
“The Milkman’s Paradox”
As the water quality of Lake Rotorua changes, so changes the lives of its surrounding dairy farmers. A screening of the Fulbright documentary “The Milkman’s Paradox”
Date: Sunday 22 November, 2015 6.30pm
Location: Novotel Hotel Rotorua

Would you like to become a member of the Collective?
Three reasons to get involved!

 1. Influence policy that will affect your farm business
 2. Learn about on-farm nutrient management solutions
 3. Get support from fellow farmers and industry bodies

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