Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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Collective Update
Dear <<First Name>>

After having such a mild autumn, it now feels like winter is upon us. This month we take a look at nitrogen trading, trends in Lake Rotorua water and stream quality and keep you up to date with the latest news and events in and around the catchment. Collective members - see you at our AGM on the 4th of May.
Remember, everything you read here is on our website -
From the chair
Our Collective organisation was formed four years ago to represent farmer views on the management of Lake Rotorua and its catchment. We’ve made some good progress, notably pushing out the nitrogen reduction date to a more achievable 2032, and splitting the responsibility for those reductions between farmers and a public fund. The individual farmer targets for nitrogen reduction will be defined in new rules being developed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Those rules will replace the existing “Rule 11” and are due to be publicly notified in August – a delay from the previous May/June notification date. 

The Collective will work closely with its members and rural agencies like Federated Farmers to ensure the rules are workable and fair. We also want to be more proactive in developing pragmatic solutions for farmers. To ensure the Collective does this job effectively, we need a clear strategy for the next couple of years. The Collective’s leadership wants input from its wider membership and so we invite all members to attend our AGM on Monday 4 May, 7pm at Ngongotaha Hall. Members will receive a draft Collective strategy along with AGM reports next week. The draft strategy identifies our main priorities and related actions – these priorities include advocacy, science, good nutrient practices, marketing and communication. 

I know “AGM” and “strategy” doesn't sound too exciting, but they are critical to running an effective and representative member-driven organisation.  To liven things up, we've invited John Ford along to give his view on profitable and sustainable farming. John runs a sheep and beef farm south of Rotorua and has just won the Bay of Plenty 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Award. Some background on John and Catherine Ford’s farm is posted on our website here

I will be stepping down as Collective Chairman at the May AGM. It has been a privilege to work with our local farmers to try and find workable solutions. I’ll stay involved and I’m especially keen to see policy that is able to respond to any changes in our understanding of lake and catchment science. I wish my successor as Chairman all the best.

From Stuart Morrison, Chairman Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Water quality trends into and out of Lake Rotorua
We all want to see improved water quality but what is actually happening out there? DairyNZ recently analysed patterns in water chemistry, clarity and E.coli concentrations on streams across the Bay of Plenty using Council's 10-year monitoring record (NB: E.coli are common germs or bacteria). The report and its summary info-graphic for farmers and community are available here. Several things stood out when we looked at the two streams flowing into Lake Rotorua (Puarenga and Ngongotaha), the Ohau channel connecting to Lake Rotoiti and the three stations on the Kaituna River. Firstly, all six stations were pretty similar. As of 2013 these six stations possessed lower E.coli levels, high oxygen levels, greater clarity and lesser nitrogen (N) but greater phosphorus (P) than many others in the Bay of Plenty. Read more
What is nitrogen trading and is it useful?
Nitrogen Discharge Allowances (NDAs) are at the heart of the draft nitrogen rules currently being developed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Nitrogen trading may be a useful mechanism for helping to meet these NDA targets. Because no two farms are the same, the costs of reducing nitrogen losses vary a lot around the catchment.  Some farms may be able to make relatively low cost reductions while others face much higher costs per kg of nitrogen. Trading might be long-term (i.e. changing the allocated Nitrogen Discharge Allowances for a farm) or short-term (through leasing). Read more
On the farm
Meet Tony and Margo Cairns from Twin Peaks
The decision for Tony and Margo Cairns to enter the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards was not taken lightly. “We felt it was important to show New Zealand we are not dirty dairy farmers and to share our ideas and expertise with the wider community” says Tony. Their commitment to implementing on-farm nutrient management solutions is why they won the BFEA BOP Regional Council Award category.  This award was for showing a particular enthusiasm or knowledge and expertise and success in one or more aspects of environmental management and technology. Read more
News in Brief
Uneven rules costly
Steps to control agricultural nutrient discharge could add 10c a litre to the cost of producing milk and impose wide-ranging restrictions on land management.  But there is little uniformity in regional council rules.  Most of the county’s 16 regional authorities are still to complete their regional plans but early indications are that each council has its own approach. Read more
Uplifting award success but future uncertainty lingers
Their financial and production performance officially puts them in the top 5 per cent of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers, but John and Catherine Ford of Rotorua's Highland Station still feel they are farming on a knife edge. The couple are the supreme winners of this year's Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards, a competition they entered partly because they hoped any success might strengthen their case with the regional council, which holds their farming future in its hands. Read more
Farmers need to evolve new systems
Associate professor Graeme Doole, an economist who specialises in the connections between agriculture and the environment and advises the Government on water concerns, told the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society's conference in Rotorua that the economic impact of nutrient limits that are now being implemented throughout the country will be a challenge for farmers. Read more
Beef + Lamb NZ Farming for Profit Field Day
The field-day will highlight how Ngati Whakaue - Wharenui Farm located within the catchment has successfully mitigated nutrient loss into lake Rotorua. Lee Matheson (PerrinAg) will cover the economic and environmental impacts. More info
Friday 24th April, 1pm - 4pm
135 Wharenui Road, Rotorua
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) April
For StAG meeting agenda minutes, reports and documents click here.
Tuesday 28th April, 10am - 3.00pm
Rotorua Lakes Council (aka RDC)
Collective AGM with guest speaker John Ford
Members are invited to the Collective’s AGM with guest speaker John Ford.You’ll also get an update on the development of the draft nitrogen rules and give input into the Collective's new stratgey.  More info
Monday 4th May 2015, 7pm - 9pm
Ngongotaha Hall, Supper room
Federated Farmers Provicial AGM
Rotorua / Taupo Provincial are hosting their AGM with guest speakers Warren Parker from Scion and Liz McGruddy.  More info
Thursday 14th May 2015
Rotorua's Copthorne Hotel.

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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