Greenies grudgingly salute farm managers

So the grouchy Greens do recognise good farm practices, when they see ’em. Pity is, the recipient of a rare plaudit is the state-owned Landcorp, rather than a privately owned farm.

Never mind. Russel Norman, at Frogblog, says

Here’s some good news on dairy farming and a doff of the cap to the SOE Landcorp and its farm managers.

We recently asked Landcorp how it was doing with compliance on effluent consents. Their General Secretary informs us that they had one infringement notice in 2008 and two in 2007. Landcorp has 37 dairy farms, so its non-compliance rate in 2008 was 3%. They have also ensured that the earlier breaches are not repeated.

That is significantly better than the 11% nationwide non-compliance rate amongst the 10,000 Fonterra dairy farms as reported in the Clean Streams Accord report. The compliance rate of other companies’ suppliers, such as Westland Dairy, Tatua and Synlait, are unknown, but frog readers may wish to write to them and ask.

Norman goes on to acknowledge that compliance by itself is not enough to clean up polluted waterways, but he condescendingly talks of it being “an important baby-step to a grown-up solution.”

He also notes that other Landcorp efforts to protect waterways and wetlands have drawn praise from DoC in Southland.

So, well done farmers at Landcorp.

So this is a nod to what is possible, and proof positive that we can do better.

But his capacity to keep up the praise falters at this point.

There’s a significant minority of farmers who are irresponsible. These farmers aren’t pulling their weight, these farmers give the dairy industry a bad name, these farmers pollute the waterways so that cattle downstream can’t drink the water and our kids can’t swim in our rivers. They need to be prodded into action and that’s a role for government.

Norman notes the role of regional councils in the clean-up game – they are charged with keeping up standards.

They often struggle for the will and resources to do the job thoroughly, but some are leading the way – the Horizon’s One Plan in particular.

Then his recognition that good things can happen without sending in the Stormtroopers becomes too much for the poor bugger.

He slips back to his default position and takes a crack at the hard-working Key Administration.

Unfortunately, the new Government seems set on weakening the laws on which the councils’ and responsible farmers’ efforts are based.

The idea that we have ‘too much’ regulation misrepresents the issue. The question is not how much or how little government we have, but ‘does it work?’

Landcorp is showing it can work. We just need Government to require the others to follow.

And there you have the difference between a National approach (good) and a Green one (bad).

The Government-owned farm company is showing what can be done. It is leading by example.

The Greenie way, as Norman reminds us, is to “to require the others to follow”.

Yep. Coercion. Electric cattle prods, or some such.

No thanks.

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