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Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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September 2015
Dear <<First Name>>
Even though spring has officially started we have yet to experience some warm spring weather on the farm. With soil temperatures being below average for this time of the year, the grass has been slow to get growing. Some consecutive warm days will benefit grass growth, stock and farmers!

You will have heard that notification of the draft rules has been delayed as BOPRC undertakes further consultation. Find out how you can take advantage of this consultation below. Happy reading! Remember, everything you read here is on our website - www.rotoruafarmers.org.nz
It has now been a year since our first Collective newsletter. We’ve worked hard for a professional look while using a free newsletter tool.
Today our e-news goes out to nearly 300 people in and around the catchment. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our partners for helping us with our communication efforts.
We, the Collective, set ourselves up as an Incorporated Society in 2011.  Establishing ourselves as a legal entity not only gave us a clear purpose and direction, it also gave us the creditability we needed when seeking financial support. We approached Bay of Plenty Regional Council to help us develop farmer-focussed communications. Rabobank also generously gave us financial support to get our website up and running, and of course we thank all our members for paying the annual subs that help keep the Collective running.
We believe it is important to provide as much relevant, factual information as possible, alongside a farmer perspective on the draft rules. Keeping our e-news and website running requires a huge amount of voluntary time and effort from our members who do a fantastic job. We are also appreciative of the content provided by Dairy NZ, Beef and Lamb, Federated Farmers and BOPRC. A huge thank you to you all.
I believe that collaboration is essential in making progress towards fair rules, a clean lake and a prosperous community. The 2013 Oturoa Agreement was a critical step along a collaborative path. This agreement was signed by the Collective, BOPRC, Federated Farmers and the Lakes Water Quality Society and it laid the basis for central and local government agreeing to share the cost of achieving the lake nitrogen target that was set in the RPS.
The notification of the draft rules has been delayed to accommodate further consultation. Let’s face it, no one wants rules. However any rules that are imposed need to be fair and equitable to all. They also need to balance the benefits to the lake water quality with the wider economic impacts. This has been the focus of StAG and the Collective over the past few years. Even when opinions are divergent we need to keep talking to each other and behave respectfully towards one another. The Collective have always accepted that they have a major part to play in the solution, representing the larger farms in the catchment - covering over 10,000ha. Neil and I (co chairs) will be presenting a Collective view of the draft rules at the StAG meeting on the 24th September 2015. If members have further feedback for us please email me directly at gisele.schweizer@xtra.co.nz.
To those of you getting to grips with draft rules, make sure you attend one of the BOPRC Open Days (16 & 17 September).  To find out more about the consultation opportunities, read Hariata Ngatai’s piece below.

From Gisele Schweizer, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Assessing the economic impacts of nutrient management
Professor Graeme Doole has been appointed Chair of Environment Economics, a new role funded by the University of Waikato and Ministry for the Environment.  
In this role, Professor Doole is tasked with improving the country’s water quality. He will provide advice and training to Councils and Government on conducting economic analysis when developing water quality policies. He says economics and the environment are closely linked. 
“When we come down to the nitty gritty, a lot of the important environmental questions are around economics. If we have to change the way we farm, that can inherently change our bottom lines and that’s really my role, to try and provide better estimates around the costs associated with deintensfying or intensifying our agricultural industries in different geographic areas of New Zealand” (from a recent Radio New Zealand Interview).

Professor Doole is co-author of the recently published report on assessing the profitability and productivity impacts of alternative nitrogen allocation methods on pastoral farming in the Lake Rotorua catchment. You can find this research report and other economic impact analyses relevant to the catchment here.
Who is StAG and what do they do?
The Stakeholder Advisory Group – or StAG for short – was formed in November 2012 to give advice on a rules and incentives package to help meet Lake Rotorua’s sustainable nitrogen target. You can check out StAG’s terms of reference here.
  • StAG does not make decisions – it provides advice, mainly to BOPRC, but also to RLC and the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group. The Regional Council is the key decision-maker for any new nutrient rules.
  • StAG members bring their own experience and views to the table. They are not representatives - but individual members that are associated with particular sectors.
  • StAG tries to operate by consensus. While sometimes that proves difficult, the discussions at StAG have assisted BOPRC staff to develop and amend the draft rules and incentives package.
  • During the draft rules consultation, it became clear that small block owners wanted more say at StAG. In October 2014, StAG supported having one additional small block member plus a new member from the deer sector. 
So who is StAG made up of?
There are 12 members from different landowning sectors plus 5 other members:
  • 5 members from the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective. The Collective's StAG members have varied but often comprise 3 dairy and 2 drystock farmers which is in proportion to the Collective's wider membership
  • 1 Te Tumu Paeora member (formerly called the Māori Trustee) - TTP administers about 4000 hectares of drystock and forest land in the catchment
  • 2 Te Arawa landowner members, both being associated with dairy and drystock farms
  • 1 deer sector member
  • 2 small block owner members
  • 1 forestry sector member
  • 2 members from the Lakes Water Quality Society
  • 1 member each from BOPRC, Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust

A Small Block Owner Perspective on the Draft Rules
I’m Graham West, a Small Block Owner (SBO) with 20ha on the eastern side of the Lake Rotorua catchment, primarily running dairy grazers plus forest plantations, and native bush. Like most of you I have a family that enjoy the country life, two kids, two pet cows and two goats. I’ve been interested in the Lake Rotorua catchment nitrate issue for almost the last 10 years as a scientist at Scion and stakeholder. My early introduction to this issue was with Paul Dell and Ric Vallance and those early meetings were very intense and passionate and taught me that only cool heads and reason would minimise the angst and cost we were about to go through. 

I was asked to join Don Hammond and help represent the SBOs at the Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) meetings in February 2015. StAG had been going for 2 years by then and had progressed through many issues and under the Oturoa Agreement (2013) had agreed on a time frame (20 years) and through the “Integrated Framework” had agreed how much land owners will reduce their N discharge by (140t/yr) and absorb the cost. The clear challenge was how to allocate that reduction and there was considerable work in progress on allocation options and modelling to understand the economic impact.  

Although the SBOs had been lumped in with the drystock farmers, the key to this progress was that the big issues needed to be addressed first - how do we reach the target reductions without a significant impairment of the economy in the catchment causing a ripple of social impact through the community. The money brought into the community from producing milk, meat, wool and wood, ultimately provides jobs in the service industries and earns export dollars that buys our consumables like clothes and petrol. 

Considerable progress had been made because a spirit of collaboration and trust was developed at STAG meetings and principles of fairness, sharing the pain, no windfalls, and not to personalise issues, was agreed. Meetings were monthly (have now held over 30), open to the public, and minutes and presentations on an open web site.

So how will the new rules affect SBOs (<40ha)? There is no simple answer. There are approximate 600 small blocks in the catchment with huge differences between them. The suggested discharge allowances, and ranges within them, will allow considerable variation between properties based on their history and economic circumstance. We will have until 2032 to achieve the Nitrogen Discharge Allowance if we are required to reduce.

I prefer to work within the current StAG process and influence what we can, because ultimately it comes down to the fact that if one sector wants more, the other sectors will have less. Litigation will be costly and our rates bill will increase with every interest group that demands BOPRC's attention. I urge SBOs to engage with the process but read the large body of material (mostly on the web) that backgrounds the decisions so far, before making decisions. If you are a small block owner, I would like to know your information needs and will help as best I can. Contact me at grahamw2012@gmail.com
There's still time to talk
Drop in sessions

Regional Council invites you to attend drop in sessions for further feedback on the draft Lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules. Come in and talk to us about how the current version of the draft rules will affect what you do on your property and have your say as to what those draft rules should look like.
Wednesday 16th September 12-4pm
Thursday 17th September 2-7pm
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Office,1125 Arawa Street

Online feedback
If you are unable to attend our drop in sessions, we would still love your feedback, please complete the Feedback Form online.

Is your property under 10 hectares?
You could be considered a permitted activity and not require a resource consent if you can comply with the draft Stocking Rate Table under the draft lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules. The table shows how many animals are allowed per hectare of effective area at any time during the year (effective area is the area of your property that is grazed or cultivated. It does not include the area in trees, bush, houses, driveways and unproductive land). View the latest version of the Permitted Activity Stocking Rate Table on the Rotorua Lakes website with examples of how to use the table.

If you have any questions related to the drop in sessions, the Stocking Table or how the rules will affect you, phone the Lake Rotorua Landowners advice line 07 921 3377 or email info@rotorualakes.co.nz 
Has a farmer's nitrogen reduction target got harder with increases in Overseer predictions of N loss?
On average, no. The overall percentage of nitrogen reduction in the draft rules has stayed the same, despite the higher N loss predictions in recent versions of Overseer. On average, a farm's current N loss and its NDA will have increased by the same proportion. This means the relative reduction effort also stays about the same. There will be some "unders and overs" around the average shift which reflect new science being incorporated into Overseer, which gives improved predictions of N loss.  

What will be the draft nitrogen loss trigger for needing a resource consent?  
The draft figure has changed to 18 kgN/ha/yr*
For properties under 10 ha, this will be translated into a stocking rate table (updated August 2015). Alternatively, landowners can use Overseer to show that N loss is less than the trigger level.
*This draft figure is based on Overseer version 6.2.0
 
You can find an overview of the draft rules here
 
Did you know drystock farmer Jo Carr compiles the stories and events for our e-news and website? 
If you have any news or events that you'd like to share, contact me via email.  We want to hear your stories. If you don't automatically get our monthly e-news, sign up here.
Meet Myles McNaught
Myles McNaught is a man of many talents.  He is a farmer, stock agent, past champion shearer and apiarist. He was born and bred in Taumarunui and spent some of the formative years clear felling bush. He recalls his boss as being a hard nut who taught the young Myles how to use common sense, a chainsaw and how to work. Myles has represented NZ in shearing and won the senior division at Golden Shears in 1989. Myles started with Affco in 1989 when he gave up shearing, transferring to Rotorua with Affco in 1998. I can personally attest to Myles skill on the drafting gate, he is still calm and concentrating after processing several thousand lambs!  Being a stock agent is clearly a career choice that suits Myles. “I like dealing with farmers on a one to one basis on their properties. I get to meet a lot of characters and no two days are the same.  Plus its great being outdoors” he says. Read more
Radio NZ interviews landowners and Council on Draft Rules
Farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment fear their businesses may become unprofitable when rules to help clean-up the lake are brought in.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is in the process of consulting landowners to help them draft rules around nitrogen run-off into the lake. Read more
Sheep and beef farmers to benefit from weaker NZD
Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service released its new season outlook for 2015-16 today. New season outlook 2015-16 predicts the average sheep and beef farm in New Zealand will see its profit before tax lift to $109,900 this season – 9.6 per cent more than last season, but 3.1 per cent below the five-year average. Read more
Concern over nitrogen rules
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has promised to actively engage with the community over draft nitrogen rules but some small block owners are concerned “nothing will change”. Regional council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod told landowners they could expect total transparency and active engagement moving forward. Read more
Revised Stocking Rate Table released
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has released the revised draft Stocking Rate Table that is part of the Draft Nitrogen Rules package. This table shows how much stock can be on small blocks (<10 ha) before a landowner will need to apply for a resource consent (by 2022). Read more
 
Collective Executive Meeting
The Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective invites members to attend the monthly Executive meetings.
Date: Monday 14 September, 7-9 pm
Location: Barclay House A&P Showgrounds
Draft Rules Consultation – Drop In Day (1)
The first drop in session for consultation on the Draft Lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules
Wednesday 16th September 12-4pm
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Office, 1125 Arawa Street
Draft Rules Consultation – Drop In Day (2)
The second drop in session for consultation on the Draft Lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules
Thursday 17th September 2-7pm
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Office, 1125 Arawa St
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) Special Meeting
Please note that this replaces the StAG meeting previously scheduled for 15th September.
Date: Thursday 24 September, 10-3pm
Location: Rotorua Energy Events Centre
Taupo Lakes and Waterways – Presentation by Stewart Ledgard
AgResearch scientist Dr Stewart Ledgard is presenting at Taupo advocacy group Lakes and Waterways’ public event October 7th on ‘Environmental Impacts of Farm System Options from Pasture to Plate’.
Date: Wednesday 7 October, 5:30pm
Location: Taupo Women’s Club, Story Place
 

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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