FAR releases Farm Environment Plan template for arable industry
Canterbury cropping farmers now have access to a Farm Environment Plan (FEP) template developed especially for their farm system (released Monday 15 June).
The Template for Arable Enterprises has been developed by FAR and approved by Environment Canterbury as meeting all the requirements of Schedule 7 of their proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. This means that cropping farmers now have access to an FEP which recognises the intricacies of their enterprise. It is hoped that the template will be acceptable or easily adaptable for other regions as well.
The template was developed by Diana Mathers, FAR’s Research Manager for Farm Systems, who says that because the majority of cropping farmers also graze livestock throughout the year, the process wasn’t straightforward.
“There really isn’t any such thing as a ‘typical’ arable farm. They can grow any combination of cereals, herbage or vegetable seeds, or maize. They can make hay or silage, and graze sheep, cattle or deer…or not. And whatever they do grow or graze is likely to change from year to year, and even with a year, depending on markets and weather patterns. This meant devising a template that would meet reasonably prescriptive regulatory requirements, but was flexible enough to accommodate the ever changing rotations of a cropping farm.
“We wanted our FEP to be as short and easy to fill in as possible, and have finished up with an interactive template that can be downloaded and filled in on a computer, or, for those who prefer it, printed off and filled in by hand.”
The template has now received official approval from Environment Canterbury’s Farm Environment Plan Assessment Panel, and Chief Executive Bill Bayfield says the panel was impressed by its quality and with the detailed guidance notes produced to go alongside it.
FAR CEO Nick Pyke says that having a farm environment plan specifically designed for arable farms is important as it recognises their unique requirements.
“Arable farms are many and varied and can contain several management blocks. This template allows farmers to clearly identify any risks associated with management practices such as irrigation, nutrient and effluent use as well as other potential problem areas such as silage or offal pits. We have also included a Farm Biosecurity section, which is not a requirement, but which many farmers may wish to consider.
“We have asked some of our growers to ‘test drive’ it, to ensure it is practical and easy to use, and their feedback has been very positive. Additionally, we are planning to run a series of workshops in the next few months to introduce growers to the template and help answer any questions around filling it out.”
FAR’s Farm Environment Plan Template for Arable Enterprises is available on the FAR website and on the Environment Canterbury website.
Diana Mathers, Research Manager Farm Systems, 027 544 2236
Nick Pyke, FAR CEO, 021 374 083