PR - Duty Of Care Towards The Environment On New Zealand Farms (p9-17)
A description is provided of how the principles of environmental duty of care can be applied within the policy milieu of New Zealand’s livestock industries. Workshops with farmers in the Waikato region were used to explore concepts associated sustainable farming. Duty of care principles were developed from the workshop results.
About 120 farmers attended the workshops. They came from a mix of backgrounds and enterprise type, from dairying and mixed livestock, to deer farmers. The concepts and practices of sustainable farming was generally understood to consist of maintaining: efficient farm animals, contented farm animals, productive vegetation, clean water, control of feral pests, farmer and farm family health, and adequate rural and agricultural services.
Plans developed through the Resource Management Act (1991) are able to limit the extreme consequences of unsustainable practices but may not be enough to encourage farmers to avoid putting at risk the long term state of natural resources in their care. The use of feed budgets, nutrient budgets, water budgets and animal observation can assist farmers to incorporate duty of care principles and find a balance between achieving farm viability and sustainability.
Keywords: agricultural systems, environment, welfare, health