Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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June 2015
Dear <<First Name>>
It's been another busy month with many of our members attending various meetings around the catchment as well as getting on with day-to-day farm work. Not great news on the dairy front with the recent Fonterra forecasts. Rural landowners are also facing large rates increases as a result of the District Council's proposed ten year plan. There's good news from the latest alum dosing research with Lake Rotorua water quality meeting its long-term target.

Happy reading! Remember, everything you read here is on our website - www.rotoruafarmers.org.nz
From the Co-chairs - Gisele and Neil
The Collective elected both of us to be co-chairs at our AGM a month ago. This gives our organisation a dairy and drystock farmer leadership and reflects our goal to represent the interests of all farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment, not just one sector. A real highlight at the AGM was John Ford talking about his family farm and getting a profitable and sustainable bull beef system working smoothly in a pretty challenging environment. We also adopted our Collective Strategy at the AGM – now comes the hard work to implement it!
We continue to grapple with the evolving nitrogen rules at the Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG). Soon enough you will get your chance to make formal submissions on these rules when the regional council notifies its plan change. Meanwhile, anyone can attend StAG to see the debate – the next StAG is 23 June at Rotorua Lakes Council, 10am start. Collective members are also welcome to attend the Collective’s exec meetings which are generally held on the third Monday of each month at Barclay House, Agrodome, Ngongotaha (the next one is 7-9pm, 22 June).

Last week we heard about Lake Rotorua’s successful alum dosing scheme from Professor David Hamilton – you can read more about that in this e-news. The other big local news is rural landowner opposition to proposed  District Council rate increases – Lachlan gives his perspective below. 
We hope to see you at the Land Use Opportunities Symposium on the 16-17 June. Check out other events coming up below and on our website.

From Gisele Schweizer and Neil Heather, Co-Chairs of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
(we’ll get a photo of them together for the next e-news!)
Rotorua landowners challenge the proposed District Council rates hike
Rotorua farmers and other rural landowners met recently to voice their concerns about the rates increases proposed by Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC).
Lachlan McKenzie, Rotorua-Taupo Federated Farmers Executive member, says “farmers really need to get engaged with the ten year planning proposal.  It’s going to have a huge impact, not only for us now, but for future generations.  I urge farmers and rural landowners to read the plan, become informed and talk to the councillors. 
As a result of the discontent expressed at the Fed Farmers meetings, Stevie Chadwick, Mayor of the Lakes Rotorua Council, called a further meeting to front-up to the rural community.  Over 200 farmers and land owners attended the meeting at Waiotapu Tavern..Read more
Lake Rotorua alum dosing gets cautious thumbs up at science presentation 
Professor David Hamilton, Chair of the Lakes Management and Restoration Programme at Waikato University, presented his research findings from recent modelling work on alum dosing in Lake Rotorua at a public meeting in Rotorua on the 2nd June.  

David Hamilton confirmed that the lake's long term water quality target has already been achieved by having low levels of algae and dissolved phosphorus in the water through alum dosing. 

Following the presentation, some questions were asked about the risks of using alum.  Dr. Hamilton said that alum is a common mineral and that, like many other minerals, it is safe when used in a controlled manner. The ongoing monitoring of the lake has not identified any significant adverse effects to organisms in the lake or streams from alum. Read more 
Land Use Opportunities Symposium  - It’s not too late!
There is something for everyone at the Land Use Opportunities Symposium being held in Rotorua on the 16th and 17th of June.  From tools for traditional pastoral farming through to hazelnut production, this is a great opportunity for farmers to get some facts and assess what options interest them.  It’s good to see a few farmers sharing their expertise in the programme line-up.  

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Grow Rotorua are hosting the 2015 Land Use Opportunities Symposium at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre. You can attend just a single session, a day or both days. And it’s free!  Please view the programme and register your attendance here
On the farm
Meet John Butterworth
Born and bred farmer John Butterworth is a true product of Rotorua.  He began his life in the hills of Mamaku and has returned there to the family land where he sharemilks  on his parents, Jack and Shelley Butterworth’s Forest Gate Farm.

On the maternal side of his family, the Heathers have farmed Awarua Farm on the side of Mt Ngongotaha since 1922. “Our family farms mean a great deal to us all”. Along with a passion for farming John has inherited several other strong family genes. Read more
In the news
$7.5 million boost for primary sector
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy recently announced that  some of the $7.5 million funding boost will be used to improve the Overseer nutrient management system. “We want to ensure that the overall modeling is improving, that we have greater accuracy, we want to get it on a more sustainable financial footing going forward.” Read more

 

Fonterra’s share trading system comes under fire
Fonterra's novel share-trading system is putting the co-op at risk, large farmer Trevor Hamilton says. The owner of 10 farms producing 10 million kilograms of milk said he "firmly believed" Fonterra's Trading Among Farmers (TAF) share system was dangerous for farmers' joint ownership of the business. Read more
Support for dairy farmers ramped up
Chief executive Tim Mackle says DairyNZ had already been working on boosting its Tactics for Tight Times campaign to help farmers cope with what is likely to be a “very tough and grim season "We know that the payments farmers will get through the winter will be particularly low and that’s why we’ve been pushing everyone to do a cashflow budget. Farmers have got to know their situation if they are going to develop a plan to cope with it". Read more 
Wellbeing at the heart of Farmstrong
An initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand has been launched. Farmstrong, a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), aimed to shift the focus of mental health from depression and illness to one of wellbeing. Read more
Events
Land Use Opportunities Symposium - Register Now
A  two-day symposium to explore sustainable land practices and land use  opportunities for the Lake Rotorua catchment. Free to attend, but places are limited. Register now.
16-17 June,
Venue: Rotorua Energy Events Centre
Dairy Business of the Year 2015 Seminar
Check out the Dairy Business of the Year seminar and awards in Hamilton - the theme is “Can we have it all – increase profit, decrease footprint and a healthier environment?" They are still accepting late registrations. Register now.
Thursday 18th June, 1-5pm,  Novotel Tainui, Hamilton (followed by dinner)
Collective Meeting 
Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective welcomes members to our monthly meetings. 
Monday 22 June, 7- 9.00 pm
Venue: Barclay House, Rotorua A & P Showgrounds 
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) June
For StAG meeting agenda minutes, reports and documents click here.
Tuesday 23 June, 10am - 3.00pm
Venue: Rotorua Lakes Council (aka RDC)

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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