Winter crops are gradually being opened up to stock around the country.
Nobody wants to see the negative attention that winter grazing can attract, so lots of work has been done by industry, farmers and regional councils to be proactive and minimise adverse effects.
We’re all very aware that a photo doesn’t tell the whole story, and that a photo can cast almost any paddock in a bad light if that is the intention of the person with the camera/cellphone.
It is important that the industry continues to make every effort to avoid negative public perception, and to minimise negative impacts on the environment and animal welfare.
An early intervention process has been established by industry to help achieve those aims. This process enables anybody to register a concern that they have about winter grazing at a specific location, for follow-up up by industry. It is hoped that this will provide an avenue for those with concerns to have them addressed in a constructive way, rather than feeling that they need to take their concerns to media.
Concerns can be raised by calling 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646). Caller details will be taken so that information provided can be clarified if required, but will not be made known outside the intervention group.
Each concern raised through this process will be discussed by a small intervention group of local representatives from Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ and Beef & Lamb NZ.
The local intervention group will identify the most appropriate industry representative to contact the farmer responsible, talk through the concerns raised and, where necessary, identify appropriate strategies to mitigate the issues. If the farmer responsible is not willing to accept industry support or address any issues identified, the concern will be passed on to the local regional council (for environmental concerns) or MPI (for animal welfare concerns) to follow up as per their normal processes.
It is hoped that by having an industry supporting industry approach, and aiming to proactively address challenges, there will be very few (if any) cases like that.
Most farmers really want to do the right thing, and often education or fresh ideas are all that is required. There are resources available to help from DairyNZ, Beef & Lamb, MPI and possibly also your local regional council. Also a handy winter grazing checklist to get you thinking about how your winter grazing plan will work.