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Published: 2007-11-29 00:00:00

Environment Waikato chairman Peter Buckley is encouraging farmers to apply to the council’s Clean Streams fund after experiencing real success with the scheme on his own farm.

Cr Buckley applied to the fund several years ago, before he joined the council, to fence and plant two streams running through his Island Block property near Te Kauwhata. He has since noticed a range of benefits, including:

  • keeping cows out of the stream, which made stock management easier and eliminated the need to check animals weren’t stuck in boggy areas
  • providing shade for animals
  • improving the quality of stock drinking water
  • lowering milk-cooling costs thanks to reduced stream temperatures
  • making it easier to subdivide paddocks with electric wires.

Now he is urging other farmers to make the most of the fund, after a recent survey showed it was generally not top of mind for the region’s farmers, and many weren’t aware of the level of funding it provided.

“I’d like to personally encourage farmers to apply, because there are so many benefits and it’s a significant chunk of the cost you don’t have to pay back,” he said.

“We can fund up to 35 per cent of the cost of fencing and planting natural waterways on your property.”

From an environmental point of view, fencing and planting streams also reduces erosion and creates “buffer zones” between land and water, reducing the flow of faecal matter, phosphorus and sediment into the waterway.

“I would recommend this to anybody,” Cr Buckley said.

“The process was very easy and from personal experience, you don’t need to worry about the amount of land you’re taking out by fencing off your streams, because my production stayed where it was.

“Having shade for the animals also helps keep the animals more contented and I think that’s really important because contented cows produce more milk.”

For more information about the Clean Streams fund and how to apply, please call Environment Waikato on 0800 800 401 and ask for your local land management officer.

What other farmers around the region have said about the Clean Streams fund:

  • “I do a lot of repeat work as a dairy farmer and to actually go out there and plant a tree and do fencing is very rewarding. It’s one of my most enjoyable jobs on the farm.” – Ross Conder, Maratoto Valley.
  • “We used to lose about 15-20 sheep a year in the stream and that was a cost we no longer have to bear.” – Ben Stubbs, Waitomo.
  • “I think it’s essential that as the first step in the supply chain we’re seen to be farming in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.” – David Gasquoine, Matamata.
  • “It’s a really good feeling knowing you’re looking after the stream and giving something back to the land. It’s something our grandchildren might appreciate in future too.” – Trish Anderson, Okoroire.
  • “I would certainly recommend the Clean Streams fund to other farmers. I would urge them to do it because everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to protect the land.” – Sabine Niepagen, Waihi.