Thursday, 22 July 2021 08:55

Editorial: Let's get the real picture!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Photos - the authenticity of which are unknown - show that not all farmers are following winter grazing rules to the fullest. Photos - the authenticity of which are unknown - show that not all farmers are following winter grazing rules to the fullest.

OPINION: Just as Southland farmers were receiving praise from local authorities on their improved winter grazing practices, new photos surfaced of cows knee-deep in mud.

While there is debate about the authenticity of the latest photos, reportedly taken by environmental activist Geoff Reid, the truth remains that not all farmers are following winter grazing rules to the fullest.

Sadly, it is this small group of farmers who are trashing the reputation of hundreds of others doing the right thing.

Such farmers are only providing ammunition to activists roaming dairy paddocks with cameras and drones hoping to find distressed cows lying in mud and reigniting the debate on banning winter grazing practices.

Let's not let a few reckless farmers, and a group of equally reckless environmental lobbyists, take the gloss off the excellent work many farmers are doing.

Environment Southland reported that its first aerial compliance inspection for the month confirmed that farmers have prepared well for winter grazing.

The flight focused largely on the Mataura and upper Oreti catchments, and only three landowners were identified as potentially having some issues that need a closer look on-farm.

"These flights help to reinforce that what's being seen from the road isn't always reflective of a breach of rules or environmental damage," council chief executive Rob Phillips says.

"Farmers are working hard and understanding the situation and making a real effort to improve things. This sustained improvement is something that Southland, as a whole, can be proud of."

Otherwise, all it will take is for a camera, a drone or even a fixed-wing aircraft, to take some shots of your farm and hand them over to dairy-hating, anti-farming environmentalists who to continue their farcical campaign against the industry.

The Government has deferred regulations to improve waterways and animal welfare until 2022. In return, farmers agreed to make immediate improvements as a compromise for the delay.

The new photos show not all farmers are putting their shoulders to the wheel. Let's not take the foot off the pedal when it comes to improving winter grazing practices.

Don't give these activists any chance of another photo of a cow lying in mud!

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