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Published: 2010-04-01 00:00:00

Fonterra’s pilot programme to check the effluent management infrastructure on farms in the Waikato is well underway and receiving positive support and feedback from farmers and Environment Waikato, says Fonterra’s GM Milk Supply, Tim Deane.

“Farmers are receptive to the advice and help and we’re on track to have 2,000 farms checked before the end of the season,” said Mr Deane.

As anticipated, the checks had found some systems at risk of non-compliance and affected farmers were being provided with advice by Fonterra’s Sustainable Dairying Specialists on remedial work.

“The initiative is doing its job – spotting potential problems that put suppliers at risk so plans can be put in place to get them sorted.”

Mr Deane said Environment Waikato, which currently monitors 15 per cent of farms in the region, was right behind the initiative and working in partnership with Fonterra.

“We are working in a constructive partnership with EW, our farmers and Dairy NZ. We all have the same goal of addressing non-compliance.”

Environment Waikato chairman, Peter Buckley, said the regional council fully supported Fonterra’s efforts to improve compliance with dairy effluent regulations and is working closely with the co-operative in a constructive partnership.

 “When the Accord results were announced, we welcomed moves by Fonterra to check suppliers’ effluent infrastructure on every farm every year to help with compliance with regional rules.

“The initiative, being piloted in the Waikato before national rollout, is a very positive step forward and we acknowledge that Fonterra’s efforts will add significantly to our collective efforts to improve compliance.

“The co-operative deserves credit for taking its “every farm, every year” step to improve compliance in the Waikato, something we made clear at the time of the Accord results.”

The Waikato pilot is being held ahead of the national rollout in August of the “every farm, every year” programme to address deteriorating non-compliance with regional council effluent rules, as measured by the Dairying and Cleans Streams Accord.

Mr Deane said the initiative showed Fonterra’s absolute commitment to addressing non-compliance and its goal of halving non-compliance in 18 months, trending to zero.