Farm fences and kitchen benches – providing support through the farm audit process

Staff are on the ground, supporting local farmers in preparation for their farm audits.  

land management advisor Pete Bradshaw

Land management advisor Pete Bradshaw

Farmers in Kaikōura who have been working with land management advisor Pete Bradshaw are feeling prepared for their farm audits.

Bradshaw has spent a considerable amount of time leaning on fences and kitchen benches to help steer farmers in the right direction to meet local and national rules.

One local farmer says the support Pete provided him was invaluable to helping him through his own audit process – which a few years ago, would have made him “run for the hills”.

“Working with Pete encouraged us in all aspects of our obligations. He was approachable and helpful on so many levels. He visited us on-farm, carried out tests for us, and gave us good advice on practical ways to improve our operation.

“Pete’s enthusiasm and help through the whole process made our audit much less daunting. We felt really listened to and valued as farmers. Really, we’re all working towards changes for the better,” he said

Engaging early for good outcomes

Bradshaw says the audit process doesn’t have to be difficult or scary and engaging early with staff can really help in the long run.

“The whole process is confidential, so if you’re worried about some aspects of your plan, or just want to check that you’re on the right track, I can help,” Bradshaw said.

Local projects support good foundations

Several earlier projects funded by the Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project (KPRP) helped set some good foundations for local dairy farmers to work from.

In 2019, as part of the ‘farming in wet conditions’ workstream, KPRP funded ‘pre-audit dummy runs’ where an approved auditor engaged with Kaikōura dairy farms, regardless of whether they needed consent.

“This provided dairy farmers with an opportunity to see where they were post-quake and where they needed to be in terms of their farm audit,” Bradshaw says.

“Kaikōura farmers were really lucky to have this early support. Being reassured that they were on the right track while showing them the areas that needed work, was a game changer when it came to preparing for their actual audit,” he said.

KPRP also initially part-funded the employment of Poū Matai Kō (cultural land management advisor) Makarini Rupene.

“Makarini’s early work with Kaikōura dairy farmers helped them start to understand the value and importance of blending mahinga kai values into their day-to-day management and Farm Environment Plans (FEPs), while also helping to set some manageable targets,” Bradshaw said.

The audit process

All consented farms in Canterbury are required to have an FEP, which identifies risks and sets out how the farm is going to manage its environmental impact.

All FEPs are audited by an independent auditor and Environment Canterbury are notified if there is follow up required, or to note when the next inspection date is set for. Farms achieving a C or D grade are considered non-achieving. An A or B grade are compliant and are audited once every two to four years depending on consent conditions.

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