Jul 13, 2023
Winter is well and truly here but the good news is that days are getting longer (if still cold and wet), so hopefully you will emerge from this season with stock in good health and condition and plenty of feed.
It’s been challenging for many farmers around the country. North Island farmers will be keen to see the end of excessive rain. We have also become aware of some Southland farmers being on the receiving end of some heavy-handed and unworkable abatement notices for winter grazing (no reason given but it seems that it is most likely due to grazing on slopes more than 10 degrees).
NZDFA has been speaking with Federated Farmers on this issue and we urge any Southland farmer who has concerns to get in touch with either Bruce Allan (Southland DFA Chair) or myself. Quite frankly we find this approach from the council disappointing as over the last few seasons we have shown that our farmers can winter graze responsibly on a range of slopes and soils.
There’s been quite a lot of change at DINZ, including just recently a shift – down one floor – to a smaller (cheaper) office on the same floor as Beef + Lamb New Zealand. While the place is liberally sprinkled with cardboard boxes at the moment, if you are in Wellington please feel free to pop in and say hi to us (Level 4, 154 Featherston Street).
Last month Justin Stevens and I attended a meeting on unlawful hunting (in other words, poaching), organised by the NZ Game Animal Council and the NZ police. This was the first such meeting and it was an eye opener as to the extend of unlawful hunting around the country as well as the lengths that rural police go to in order to prosecute offenders. A few key outcomes from the meeting were:
- All participants were keen to keep dialogue going and convene another meeting to look at how unlawful hunting can be curbed and appropriately treated (less wet bus tickets).
- The police are trialling a rural crime prevention app (on your smartphone) in North Canterbury and hopefully nationwide in a year or two. Early feedback from the rural community has been positive.
- I was fortunate to be given a pocket-sized card for rural police that outlines what evidence can be gathered and action taken. Much of this is applicable for the landowners. Please see the photo of the card below – hopefully it will be of some help.
Finally, some of you may be aware that the government has called for submissions on alternative approaches to stock exclusion from waterways – due on 17 July. This is an important opportunity to push for a more common-sense approach instead of the current inflexible use of a low-slope map to determine if a farm has to permanently exclude stock from waterways or not.
DINZ will be making a joint submission along with Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, while NZDFA will be making its own submission and emphasising that successful and effective approaches that our farmers already use to minimise environmental damage around waterbodies.
The next major NZDFA activity is the Next Generation in August (three weeks away). As usual it is oversubscribed. I’m looking forward to meeting up with the 50 participants and a big thank you to the Elk and Wapiti Society and Canterbury/West Coast branch of the NZDFA for co-hosting this flagship NZDFA event.
- Lindsay Fung, Producer Manager