Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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August 2015
Dear <<First Name>>
It's a busy time of year for farmers with calving well underway and lambing just around the corner. The latest cold snap will be keeping many busy through the day and night. Dairy farmers throughout 
New Zealand are reeling from Fonterra's decision to slash the price for milk solids further.  
You may have read the recent  BOPRC media release about extending consultation on the draft nitrogen rules. We're not sure what form this additional consultation will take and whether this means that the notification of the rules will be delayed.  But we'll keep you posted!

This month we've started a 'Did You Know' section to help landowners come to grips with information about the draft rules, clarify some confusion and alert you to the range of resources out there.
Happy reading! Remember, everything you read here is on our website - www.rotoruafarmers.org.nz
Things are heating up on the nitrogen rules front as we get closer to notification. Many of you will know about – or have attended - the public meeting held on 2nd August which was mainly organised by small block and deer farm owners. High-profile lawyer Mai Chen spoke at the meeting and criticised BOPRC for its consultation effort. It is possible this will progress into some kind of legal challenge.
My main impression from the meeting was that there was a lot of confusion about what the draft rules mean, both in terms of property nitrogen limits and the thresholds for needing a resource consent.
As a drystock farmer, I’m in a similar position to most owners of blocks between 10 and 40 hectares, except they won’t need a consent until 2022 (not 2017 like me). And then they get the average drystock nitrogen allocation, even if they were low intensity historically. All farms lose N and even “small” blocks can have high N losses per hectare, so it’s logical they get covered by the rules as well.
Sure, Council needs to lift its game in communicating with all the landowners who will be affected – it’s not too late. They announced last weekend they will be having another crack at consultation.  
I’ve been part of the StAG process for over two years and it’s not fun dealing with bureaucrats and long reports. Despite that, I think we’ve come up with a pretty fair nitrogen allocation scheme. Let’s see what further improvements we can make before notification. We've also got the formal submission process to voice any concerns.    
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, a couple of other things. We’ve been making some good progress in our mediation on the proposed Rotorua District plan and the scope for using subdivision rights to help protect the lake – watch this space. Also, my Collective co-chair Gisele has been busy working with Regional Council staff to simplify the Nitrogen Management Plan template – that is now looking more pragmatic. So we can make progress with bureaucrats after all!

From Neil Heather, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Feds water team enhances policy and advocacy strength in the regions 
It will come as no surprise that the impact of farming on water quality has been identified as a priority issue for Federated Farmers.This has resulted in the creation of a specialist in-house Water Team who will focus on providing leadership and advice to Federated Farmers’ provincial presidents, regional policy staff and members who are involved in water related policy processes. Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s (BOPRC) front loading of consultation and collaborative processes in the development of the draft Rotorua nitrogen rules is an excellent example of how the newly created Feds Water Team can assist farmers. Read more
BOPRC Advice and Support Service FAQs
To assist Rotorua catchment landowners and the Land Use Advisors delivering the Advice and Support service, BOPRC has prepared answers to a series of common questions. These FAQs cover the A&S service, Nitrogen Management Plans, Nitrogen Discharge Allowances, incentives and the wider policy context. Remember if you have any questions about the Advice and Support service, you can ring the Council on 0800 884 880 or email adviceandsupport@rotorualakes.co.nz 
Support for farmers under stress
Bad weather and wildly fluctuating incomes are part of the challenge of farming. Now we can add complex and restrictive regulations to the mix. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, so DairyNZ’s Sharon Morrell organised a rural professionals networking session at the end of June to discuss farmer wellbeing. About 50 rural professionals and local farmers heard from DairyNZ’s Liz Blakemore about the causes and stages of stress, how prolonged stress can lead to significant health issues and what the keys are to wellbeing. 
 
Sharon says “In tough times it is important that farmers and rural professionals are alert to signs of excessive stress amongst their neighbours and colleagues.” The December 2014 edition of “Inside Dairy” has some frank stories on farmers dealing with stress. Being neighbourly and getting out to activities where other farmers are gathered can be valuable. There are also professional services out there who can help – some key contacts are here. Farmers – or their friends and staff – can also contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254. Remember, if you’re really concerned about someone, don’t hesitate to call the police on 111.”
Entries for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are officially open.
Local farmers, John and Catherine Ford entered the regional BOP competition last year, winning the Supreme Award. This saw them go on to compete in the national finals which they also won. They found the judging process to be enjoyable and highly beneficial for both their team and business. Now it's your turn to enter and experience the benefits. Here is the link to start the process  www.nzfeatrust.org.nz   
     
Where does the nitrogen going into Lake Rotorua come from? 
There has been some confusion about the main sources of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua. Here is a graphical summary of where the nitrogen comes from, based on the ROTAN model and Rule 11 data.

What will be the draft nitrogen loss trigger for needing a resource consent?  
The draft figure is 16 kgN/ha/yr*
For properties under 10 ha, this will be translated into a stocking rate table.
Alternatively, landowners can use Overseer to show that N loss is less than the trigger level.
*This draft figure is based on Overseer version 6.1.3 and StAG advice in early 2015. 

You can find an overview of the daft rules here
Meet Linden Hunt
Linden Hunt, one of the newest members of the Collective, is from one of the older Rotorua farming families. In 1920 Linden’s grandfather, Neil Buchanan Hunt, purchased 140ha at the end of Malfroy Road. A further property in Mamaku was added a short time later. The stock were rotated between the two properties in an effort to combat bush sickness, which was prevalent in the Rotorua district at the time. Bush sickness was due to a lack of cobalt in the soil. 
Both properties were used for milking cows with the cream being supplied to the Ngongotaha Dairy factory.
After World War 2, additional land was purchased adjoining the Malfroy Road property and sheep were added to the mix. It was around this time and in conjunction with solving the bush sickness issue that the Mamaku property was sold. The Malfroy Road property became a town supply operation but ceased dairying around 1970. At this time the farm had increased in size to 1230 ha  (1180 ha effective) carrying 5000 breeding ewes and replacements and 500 beef cattle.
Today Linden farms, a small remnant of the original property, comprises 120ha in the Utuhina Valley. He runs deer, dairy service bulls and rears calves. Read more
Special rates offer for dairy farmers in Rotorua
Rotorua Lakes Council has responded to the difficult economic condition many dairy farmers are experiencing from the downturn in dairy prices. They’re offering dairy farming category ratepayers the opportunity to defer their first 2015/16 year rates payment, without penalty, until 20 October 2015. Read more
Top law expert joins lake nitrogen fight
A meeting was held to answer questions from the community about how the new Bay of Plenty Regional Council rules would affect landowners.The rules set out how nitrogen discharge allowances will be allocated to individual rural properties in the lake catchment area and are likely to affect all properties over 2 hectares. Read more
Overseer farming programme revamped and funding boosted
Nutrient-budgeting programme Overseer has been given a funding boost of $750,000 and been revamped.The 15-year-old farming tool will be run by a not-for-profit company and its annual budget is now $2.25 million. A formal quality assurance programme will be established and critical maintenance and testing work on the model accelerated. Read more
A Nuffield Scholars international travels
Sharon Morrell talks about scholarship travels taken earlier this year that involved an international conference and a whirlwind visit through several countries. Only five Nuffield scholarships were given out in 2014 and they were regarded as one of rural New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious awards. Read more
Chemical caps for Taupo farms could work for other lakes
Environment minister Nick Smith said limiting animal numbers and changing dairy land to forestry was helping to drastically reduce the amount of nitrogen seeping into Lake Taupo. He said the changes were working well there, and could be used to turn around other dirty lakes and rivers. Read more        
 
Loss-making farmers can’t afford environmental mitigation
Federated Farmers president William Rolleston says progress made in the last few years on farming’s environmental impact can’t be sustained when farmers are making a loss. Read more
Busting myths on water weeds.
Some common held beliefs about water weeds are ‘one weed is as bad as another’, ‘waterfowl move water weeds around’ and ‘nutrient enrichment drives weed invasion’. However, these assumptions are incorrect or represent an oversimplified view of the problem. Read more  
 
Beef and Lamb referendum roadshow
Come and talk to B+LNZ’s chairman or your local farmer director about the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum and what it means for you.
Date:  Wednesday 12 August,  6pm
Location: Holiday Inn, 10 Tyron Street, Rotorua
Collective Executive Meeting
The Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective invites members to attend the monthly Executive meetings.
Date: Monday 17 August, 7-9 pm
Location: Barclay House A&P Showgrounds, Rotorua
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) August
For StAG meeting agenda minutes, reports and documents click here.
Date: Tuesday 18 August, 10am – 3pm
Location: Rotorua Lakes Council (aka RDC)
BOPRC - Regional Direction and Delivery Committee Meeting 
This committee will be considering the latest on the draft nutrient rules for Rotorua.
All welcome!
Date: Thursday 20 August, 9:30am - 12ish
Location: BOPRC, Quay St, Whakatane
Stress Management Workshop
Attend a stress management workshop designed for rural professionals in the dairy industry.
Date: Monday 24 August, 9am-12.30pm
Location: Westpac Bank 1228 Amohau Street, 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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