[1 October/Rural Life]

A farmer led initiative was looking at ways to improve land management practices to benefit the environment and local communities. The Aparima Community Engagement represented six local catchment groups. It briefed Environment Minister, David Parker, on his its aims during his visit. The main issue to tackle included identifying best practice around things such as buffer zones for wintering, and the use of crops and fertiliser. Its next objective was to talk to all farmers in the area to build more community support for the environmental challenges around catchment, before identifying priority actions and funding avenues. Pourakino Valley Dairy Farmer, David Diprose, said the challenges were complex, diverse and needed a shift in the land management drivers. He added the project was an example of Southland stepping up to tackle water issues. Colac Bay Dairy Farmer, Ewen Mathieson, noted the initiative gave an opportunity to engage with the community.