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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Canterbury farmers are some of the most efficient in the country, in part thanks to a consenting process that helps ensure they are balancing environmental, economic and cultural values.

Beginning in 2012 with the adoption of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan; many farmers were required to apply for a land use consent to farm.

Over the years, as various plan changes have become operative, the rules have been adjusted to fit specific catchments and areas.

Now around 2,500 Canterbury farmers have a Farm Environment Plan (FEP) as part of their land use consent to farm.

Ninety percent of consent holders achieved either an A or B grade in their last FEP audit, meaning they’re compliant with their consent, and either currently operating at Good Management Practice (GMP), or on track to be operating at GMP by the time of their next audit.

During July/August 2020, Environment Canterbury is working to ensure that farmers needing a consent to farm that don’t yet have one, do. Information on the Farmers’ Hub will help guide the process.

The consent requirements have now been around for some time, and farmers who don’t comply with the rules could be subject to compliance action.

What determines the need for a land use consent to farm?

If you don’t already have a consent to farm, it’s your responsibility to check if you need to do so.

The rules around land use consents vary depending on where your farm is located. Under the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan, the trigger for consent is based on several factors.

These include, but are not limited to:

How do I find out if I need a land use consent to farm?

The Farmers’ Hub has detailed information that can help determine whether you need consent. Each zone has its own subset of rules, which you can find by selecting your zone, and opening the Farming land use consents menu.

What are the benefits of having a Farm Environment Plan?

An FEP helps you identify environmental risks and how to mitigate them, ensuring that you’re putting into action all the good management practices relevant for your farm. It can add to your business equity and indicates you are less likely to be affected by rule changes in the future.

In fact, it’s like a warrant of fitness for your business – indicating your operation is in ship shape.

Need some help?

We know it can seem daunting. That’s why your industry group representatives are available to provide help. You can also contact your local Environment Canterbury Land Management Advisor for assistance.