Friday, 05 July 2019 08:55

Farmers urged to connect locally

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Hauraki dairy farmer Connall Buchannan. Hauraki dairy farmer Connall Buchannan.

Hauraki dairy farmer Connall Buchannan is urging farmers to get more active in their local communities.

He told the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) in Invercargill last week that active farmers would ensure their voices were heard during decisionmaking.

Buchannan, who milks 1100 cows on two farms near Paeroa, Hauraki Plains, is a former chair of Federated Farmers sharemilkers section, was a founding member of the Fonterra Shareholders Council, is a trustee of Netherton School, Paeroa and a member of the Hauraki Plains Marine Spatial Plan stakeholder working group.

He spent three years in Chile starting a dairying company which has grown to 40,000 cows.

Buchannan says given the public focus on environment, doing the right thing environmentally, both on and off farm, “is good in and of itself”. 

Caring for the environment is often also a good way to bring people together to connect.

“On farm in 2019 we all have a range of environmental initiatives now common or compulsory and ‘business as usual’: nutrient budgets, enviro walks, fencing waterways, riparian planting, good winter crop management and planting for shelter and biodiversity. 

“Some of these were not common 30-plus years ago when I started farming although, interestingly, there are farms which have had versions of those things in place for generations.”

Buchannan says on farm initiatives will continue to evolve and farm environment plans are common and a further step down that road. 

“As farmers we need to continue working to minimise the negative and maximise the positive environmental impacts we have. 

“We need to be engaged in working out the methods used so that our production systems retain economic as well as environmental sustainability.

“Being involved in formal processes, informal discussions and our community generally help ensure our voice is heard and has the credibility to be listened to and considered as some of the important decisions are made in this area,” he says. 

“Environmental policy and regulation is an area where the decisions aren’t ours alone to make.”

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