When Canterbury dairy farmer Alister Body became a DairyNZ director 12 years ago, he was motivated by his desire to be part of industry decisionmaking.
Commenting on the latest Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord report, Body says that work being carried out by farmers each year independently audited by Telarc SAI.
The Crown Entity subsidiary is the leading certifier of quality, environmental, food, and occupational health and safety management systems.
“As part of the assessment for the latest report, Telarc spent 15 days auditing DairyNZ and the Water Accord dairy companies to verify the information they provided,” Body says.“The assessors also spent 40 days visiting 80 farms randomly selected from DairyNZ’s database to verify information provided by the farmer to their dairy company.”
He says the Accord is an open-hearted declaration by dairy farmers that they will play their part in protecting dairy farm waterways that feed into rural rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
“We set up this Accord three years ago to formalise and measure their environmental efforts. We’re very proud to say 11,400 farmers around the country have endorsed the Accord, effectively making a rock-solid commitment.
“Dairy farmers also know that other agricultural sectors, industry and urban communities influence water quality too. Our farmers are leading the way, and they encourage others to step up as well.”
Body says along with DairyNZ, signatories include the key dairy companies, while the supporting partners and friends of the Accord span a range of agri-businesses, Federated Farmers, Irrigation NZ, and regional and district councils.
Also included are the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry for the Environment and the Federation of Maori Authorities.
He says dairy is very much on a journey and farmers, as well as the scientists who work alongside them on researching and developing new ways to lower dairying’s environmental footprint, know there is more work to be done.
“As we look to the future, we are also reflecting on what has been achieved over the three-year period this latest Accord covers. And I congratulate our Accord farmers – I am a farmer myself, and I can say from personal experience achieving tangible benefits on farm is not easy or quick.”
For information about what farmers have achieved go to dairynz.co.nz/wateraccord