A new project supported by Fonterra’s Living Water Partnership with the Department of Conservation will help on-farm advisors grow their understanding of biodiversity, with a view to further building biodiversity objectives into Farm Environment Plans.
‘Farming with Native Biodiversity’ is a 20-month project coordinated by the NZ Landcare Trust and funded by the National Bioheritage Science Challenge (Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho), Living Water, Silver Fern Farms and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The Living Water partnership has identified that the biggest barriers to the protection and restoration of biodiversity on farms is limited access to advice and ecological expertise, along with the cost of preparing restoration plans.
“There is widespread interest from farming communities and farm advisors to protect and restore native biodiversity on farms, though expert advice is hard to come by and costly”, says Trish Kirkland-Smith, Fonterra’s Head of Environmental Partnerships.
“Development of a farm biodiversity restoration and management plan can cost $5-10,000+, with additional costs for monitoring. Across 25,000 pastoral farms in New Zealand, this is $125+ million for the planning alone. This new partnership project trials a more cost-effective way of providing expert advice to the sector, working with over 60 sheep and beef and dairy farms to develop biodiversity plans and implement biodiversity management, then sharing the results with 6000 more sheep and beef farms and 9000 dairy farms.”
The expected outcome of the project is that farmers adopt biodiversity objectives into their Farm Environmental Plans and support wider catchment biodiversity goals in the process. For Fonterra suppliers, these biodiversity plans will become a part of their existing Farm Environmental Plans, which Fonterra provides to farmer owners free of charge. More than half of Fonterra farmers already have Farm Environment Plans and the Co-op is on target to reach its goal of 100% of farmers having plans by 2025.
For more information on Living Water visit: livingwater.net.nz