Farm planning framework supports farmers into the future

A new framework, agreed between Government and industry, will make it easier for farmers and growers to integrate future greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements into their farm planning, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

“The Good Farm Planning Principles Guide out today, provides guidance for how farmers can organise their business operations and help New Zealand meet significant environmental challenges and market opportunities,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The guide is the gateway to an integrated farm planning approach; that is, each farmer looking at their farm as a whole, from soils to staff, and from emissions to EBIT.

“We have worked side by side with farmers to produce the guide. Its release marks the first step in the delivery of Labour’s 2020 manifesto commitment to develop an integrated farm planning framework to help streamline compliance, avoid duplication, boost productivity and improve environmental outcomes.”

The guide has been developed by the Integrated Farm Planning Steering Group, which is comprised of senior representatives from farming industry organisations, councils, Māori agribusiness representatives, and government.

The group has drawn from the existing planning programmes of the agriculture and horticulture sectors, as well as current regulatory frameworks such as health and safety.

“I’m conscious of the good planning practice that is already happening within our various sectors and I think this framework reflects that,” Damien O’Connor said.

“However, some farmers still need some support and guidance. With new farm planning requirements for freshwater and climate change coming down the line, we need to bring all farmers along on the journey. This guide is the first step – putting in place baselines to help people combine and improve their existing farm planning, so that they are ready for the change that is coming.”

The Government allocated $37 million over four years in Budget 2021 to make farm planning less time consuming. This will deliver 100 more people with the skills to provide advice to farmers and growers with aspects of planning. It will also improve information and data interoperability across the primary industries, and between regulators and industry assurance programmes. An accelerator fund will invest in targeted initiatives to significantly broaden the uptake of integrated farm planning.

The Steering Group will continue to work with industry to align their assurance plans with the guidance released today. That will be in place by the end of 2021 and a significant step in a programme of work that will go into 2022.

“Once fully rolled out 40,000 farmers and growers will be equipped to add value to their produce by demonstrating to markets their stewardship of the land and livestock,” Damien O’Connor said.

Click here to read Good Farm Planning Principles: Towards Integrated Farm Planning.