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Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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Collective Update February 2015
Welcome to the first edition of the Collective Update for 2015.  We hope you had a great Christmas and found time to catch up with friends and family. We're having a dry hot summer and we need some decent rain to alleviate the dry conditions. We'll be kicking of the year with a BBQ for members at the Coatsworth farm. This will be a great opportunity to catch up with new and old Collective members. 

In this issue, we'll give you an update on the draft nitrogen rules process, as well as the latest news and events in and around the catchment. Remember much of what you will read in these monthly Collective Updates is from our website.
From the chair 
2015 will be a crucial year for Rotorua farmers with the expected formal notification of new nitrogen rules. We should also soon see the launch of the $40 million incentives scheme which aims to "buy" 100 tonnes of nitrogen. Meanwhile, there are multiple ongoing meetings of both the District and Regional Council, the Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) and the overall governance body, Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group. Myself and other members of the Collective's leadership team (the "exec") attend and speak at many of these meetings to advance the interests of farmers.  This effort is needed to ensure we maintain a prosperous rural economy alongside our (already!) clean lake.

The Collective's exec meets before each StAG meeting to consider its position on each agenda item. I encourage you to attend the StAG and other public meetings if you can - keep an eye on the events section of our website for dates and times.  I'm looking forward to seeing our members at our BBQ on the 15th February.
From Stuart Morrison, Chairman Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective

Progress on the draft nitrogen rules

Some changes have been made to the draft nitrogen rules for the Lake Rotorua catchment as a result of feedback received by BOPRC during the July to October 2014 consultation. A detailed consultation report can be found here

Although the overall rule structure is still similar, the thresholds have changed for "permitted activities" i.e. situations where no resource consent is required. The draft rules now have two categories of permitted activity:
  • under 10 hectares - permitted except for specified "intensive" land uses
  • 10-40 hectares - a delay until 2022 before landowners either meet the 10 kgN/ha limit or apply for resource consent (similar to requirements for properties over 40 ha).
It’s more complicated than that, and some things still need more definition. For example, the BOPRC staff report notes that intensive land use is "yet to be defined but will include dairy, intensive beef, nurseries and cropping, or land use that is part of a larger farm enterprise".
You can read the BOPRC staff report here

The staff recommendations were accepted by BOPRC's  Regional Direction and Delivery Committee on 9 December. However, on 10 December the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group asked for more time to consider the report. The Strategy Group includes Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust. 
Lake Rotorua Groundwater Boundary
The Collective and BOPRC organised a meeting on 11 December specifically for those landowners from the additional groundwater catchment which is larger than the surface runoff catchment covered by Rule 11. There is also the complication that parts of the groundwater catchment are in the Waikato region. You can read the landowners' comments and questions, plus some background, here

The Collective and Federated Farmers will be following up on these concerns.
 
Feds seek farmer support on District Plan Appeal by 9 Feb
Federated Farmers has lodged an Environment Court appeal on the proposed Rotorua District Plan. Gwyn Morgan, the Feds Regional Policy Advisor who prepared the appeal, says “We want to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers, including problems that arise from overly broad and vague District Plan policies. For example, the proposed District Plan strays into water quality issues that are really Regional Council functions”.

You can download the full Feds appeal documents here. The Collective encourages those farmers who made individual submissions on the proposed District Plan to formally support Feds. To do this, you need to submit a “Form 33″ by 5pm 9 February to the Environment Court, specifying the parts of Feds’ appeal you support and why, and how it relates to your original submission. The reason this will help is if you are a party to this appeal or other appeals you will be able to attend and participate in Environment Court mediations if they arise. Gwyn is happy to help with this process – contact him on 07 858 0815 or 021 610005 or gmorgan@fedfarm.org.nz.
In brief
Farming Clean Streams
Ballance Agri-Nutrients has launched a specialist team to help farmers navigate increasingly complex environmental regulations and consent requirements to promote clean green land, rivers and streams. Alastair Taylor, the new Business Extension Services Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients said “Farmers need to navigate through regulations around effluent management, nutrient use and environmental performance. Our new team will provide a direct link between farmers and regional councils to take the hassle out of environmental compliance. Read more
 
Nutrient management decision to have major economic impact: Southland
A Southland farmer has warned the regional economy will be hit hard when Environment Southland sets regional nutrient allocations next year. Sheep and dairy farmer Doug Fraser said no matter which methodology was used, farmers and the wider community would feel the effects.He believed if the regional council capped discharge levels based on their current allocations it would be disastrous for sheep farmers, who had much lower nutrient losses than dairy farmers. Read more 
Leptospirosis video potential lifesaver for farmers
A new Massey University seven-part video series aims to give farmers information to protect themselves, their families, workers and livestock from Leptospirosis, the bacterial disease that hospitalises more than 50 people each year.

Dr Benschop says the video is important because so many cases of leptospirosis are going unnoticed. The estimated total number of cases is about 43 times higher than the number of notified cases, due to misdiagnosis or issues with accuracy of lab testing. For more information please click here.  Take a look at the first video in the series here.
Off the farm
Members hone their  leadership skills – Environmental Leadership Forum
Collective members Chris Paterson and Sarah Coatsworth were two of the ninety six farmers from across New Zealand to attend the 2014 Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington in December.
The forum has been supporting dairy farmers over the last decade to step-up and become environmental leaders on their farms, in their communities and in their industry. Read More
 
Events
Collective Members BBQ
The Executive invites Collective members to a BBQ at the Coatsworth Farm on Dalbeth Rd. It would be great to get together to meet new and old members and get 2015 off to a good start.  For catering purposes, please RSVP Sarah on agc.farmsltd@gmail.com and could you please bring a salad.
February 15th 1.00 – 3.00pm.
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) February
Join the first StAG meeting for 2015 to check out the latest on nitrogen policy and incentives scheme. For StAG meeting agenda minutes, reports and documents click here.  (link: http://www.rotorualakes.co.nz/StAG_2014)
Monday 16 Feb  11am- 1:30pm, Rotorua Lakes Council (aka RDC)
NZ Flax Forum
The forum will present research and development undertaken by Biopolymer Network Ltd as well as presentations from key players in the industry who will introduce innovative uses of harakeke.  For more information contact Sally Williams; ; (07) 343 5639).  Or click here for online registration. 
Friday 20 February  8:30 - 5:00pm, Waiariki Polytechnic, Mokoia Campus, Rotorua
SFF Field Day, Parekarangi Trust Farm – Save this date!
Parekarangi Trust Farm, 560 State Highway 30
Final field day for the Collective’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SSF) Project -“Meeting nutrient loss targets on dairy farms in the Lake Rotorua catchment”.
Tuesday 3 March, More details to follow
Agri-Women's Development Trust - Understanding Your Farming Business
Aims to engage women in their farming Business through building business knowledge, skills and confidence.  The programme consists of a full day workshop delivered by industry experts over a three month period.  For more information click here.
Lakes Water Quality Society Symposium
‘Lake Weed and Wallabies’
Sir Howard Morrison Performing Art Centre, 1170 Fenton Street, Rotorua
The symposium will have two themes: dealing with lake weed, and the problem of animal pests in forested lake catchments. For inquiries please contact symposium@lakeswaterquality.co.nz 
12 - 13 March.
For more events taking place after these dates, please check our website
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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