Deer Farmers play a part in Otago’s fresh-water solution

May 19, 2022

The deer industry is contributing real data and knowledge about the sector into the Farmer/Grower Workstream of the Otago Regional Council (ORC)’s new Economic Work Programme (EWP).

DINZ producer manager Lindsay Fung, environmental stewardship manager Sara Elmes and Tony Pearse are representing the deer industry in a new online forum – the ‘Otago Land and Water (LWRP) Economic Industry Advisory Group – which meets virtually every fortnight in the early phases of the programme.

“This aims to move the initiative rapidly forward,” explains Pearse, who is coordinating the sector’s contribution on behalf of DINZ.

Tony Pearse: ensuring the deer farmer’s voice is heard in Otago.

The EWP aims to get a better understanding of the use of fresh water in Otago’s economy so ORC can meet the requirements of the 2020 formal National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management and will consider both discharges of contaminants to water and water abstractions. The work underpins ORC’s development of its Land and Water Regional Plan to improve the region’s future use of fresh water.

“While this is a new initiative for the Otago rural industries, most agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries were similarly involved in Environment Southland’s Economic project from 2017 to the 2020s,” says Pearse.

The EWP will build capability around the use of fresh water in different sectors of the economy, its sustainability and the wellbeing of people and communities. This will be essential during climate change, will help inform future policy processes and has a strong link to Otago’s main river and lake catchment areas, he says. 

The trio’s involvement in the work programme is to ensure the deer farmer’s voice is heard and accurate information informs decisions, he says. Real data is being provided from Otago deer farmers who have applied to be part of MPI’s Natural Knowledge project.

“Within that framework, participating Otago deer farmers will have their resulting farm plans, incorporating their financial, management and environmental data Including an Overseer calculation, anonymised and analysed in detail as part of that data set.” 

All datasets are expected to be completed by early 2023 to help assess the efficiency of the Otago Land and Water Regional Plan.  

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