Deer 101 for central and local government essential

Jul 21, 2022

"Deer 101", run by DINZ and DFA for staff from regional council and central government, is “essential and ongoing” activity for the deer sector dealing with new regulations from freshwater through carbon and biodiversity to welfare.  

The Deer 101 courses are running for the staff who are monitoring farm compliance so “they know what good practice on a deer farm looks like,” says Fung.

Indigenous biodiversity and SNAs is not the only area DINZ is fire-fighting currently. Others include freshwater regulations for winter grazing, wetlands and stock exclusion from waterways.

Deer farmers grappling with the roll-out of freshwater regulations for winter grazing, wetlands and stock exclusion from waterways on their properties, can learn from their peers’ experiences, alongside preparing their own farm environment plans, within the Deer Industry Environmental Groups, part of the P2P programme.

DINZ and NZDFA are also keeping a close eye on regional council water quality plans, to make sure they are workable, affordably and practical, explains DINZ producer manager Lindsay Fung.

Lindsay Fung.

“We are concerned about the onerous and expensive compliance and consenting requirements many councils are imposing on family farms seeking approval for their fresh water farm plans,” he explains.

He agrees the councils need to focus on improving the quality of water in the streams, lakes and acquifers and wants to see councils focused on outcomes, rather than prescriptive and restrictive rules.

“The only requirement they should be making of farmers is to demonstrate awareness of environmental impacts, their risk assessment and adoption of good practice in the context of their farm and catchment.”

Another concern for Fung is the rising amount of paperwork that is overburdening busy farmers.

“It is simply not the way to go if you want to get farmers to change the way they farm,” he says.

While the regulations are not going to go away, he thinks some have, “been crafted by people who haven’t been out on a deer farm, or have limited understanding of farming and are unaware of how environmental risk can be practically managed – and that’s part of the frustration. It’s really not making farming an enjoyable lifestyle.”

Most deer farmers take great pride in their environmental stewardship. This was the first livestock industry to establish an environmental award and the first to publish a landcare manual more than 20 years ago.

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