The Government has delayed new intensive winter grazing regulations for a year, meaning revised regulations will not be implemented until May 2022.
This follows recommendations from the Southland IWG Advisory Group on the government’s initial plans. Members of the group include several farmers, as well as members and staff from Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fish and Game and Environment Southland.
B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says it’s encouraging that the Government has accepted some of the Southland group’s proposals, including an industry-led approach to IWG farm plans in the coming year.
“Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor made the point to our annual meeting that more time is needed to work through the Southland group’s recommendations and to write robust policy as a result,” says Sam.
“We welcome this commitment to getting it right and look forward to working with the Government on this process.”
Sam says Beef + Lamb will continue to advocate for changes to some of the rules the Government is intending to apply from May 2022, including deletion of the pugging standards, the resowing dates and to the slope trigger, as recommended by the Southland report.
“It seems that if the IWG module is successful this may mean the Government looks more favourably on amending the rules and deleting the more draconian requirements,” says Sam.
“In the meantime we’ll continue to support farmers in implementing best practice on the ground and to work with other industry partners to press the Government to address these issues.
“The Southland Advisory Group was a highly effective and collaborative process across the regional council, sector groups, farmers and Fish & Game, supported by iwi, and it came up with workable solutions that we’ll continue to support.”
A year to plan
A Government press release says the farming sector has agreed to make immediate improvements to intensive winter grazing practices for the coming season, and in return for this commitment, the Government will help them achieve this and delay implementing new regulations.
“The one year deferment will enable an IWG farm plan ‘module’ to be rapidly developed, tested and deployed ready for formal incorporation into wider certified freshwater farm plans in 2022,” says Environment Minister David Parker.
Rules preventing the expansion of IWG will still apply.
Minister O’Connor says the decision provides certainty of direction and timeframe.
“We can get on and put farm plans into place as quickly as possible across all farming operations,” says Minister O’Connor.
“Immediate improvements in IWG practices this season are required, and I have set out my expectations to both councils and industry bodies.”
Minister Parker says increased monitoring and reporting by councils will also ensure measurable improvements in IWG by May 2022. This monitoring will include quarterly reporting to the minister.