A FEP documents risks, identifies opportunities, and maps out how improvements could be made, recognising the farmer’s business and sustainability goals. FEPs are an effective method of promoting good management practices in a way that is most suitable for an individual farm. In some regions, having a FEP is already a regulatory requirement and this is likely to become more widespread in the future.
Bay of Plenty Sustainable Dairying Advisor Karl Rossiter says the uptake of FEPs has been great.
"I'm snowed under with farmer demand,” Karl says, “but that’s a good thing.”
As of 31 July, 23% of our farms now have a FEP, whereas last year only 12% of farms had a FEP.
“In the 17 years I’ve worked at Fonterra, the FEP is one of the best tools I’ve seen for farmers. It’s like having a light turned on in a really dark room – the FEP gives farmers a really clear view of their farm’s opportunities and risks,” says Karl.
Karl stresses that this isn’t just another document.
"It's not something we write and dump on their table, or something they file under their bed. To develop a plan, we walk the property with the farmer,” Karl explains.
“Together we look at the farm’s terrain, waterways, the size and complexity of the farm, effluent management, stocking rates, cropping regimes, nitrogen management and more.