We recognise that farmers are facing increased demands when it comes to managing and meeting compliance requirements for their business. From health & safety, to employment law, to the environment and beyond, there is a lot to monitor, understand and complete at all levels of a farming operation.
What Do You Need to Look Out For?
The first step is understanding the environmental regulations that apply to you. The following list summarises the top 3 regulations which apply to farming operations:
1. Resource Consents
Resource Consents are permits that allow you to undertake an activity that has an environmental interaction or potential impact, including discharges to land or air, water take and land use. Resource Consents usually include conditions to protect the environment, such as monitoring and reporting. Consented activities are monitored by the relevant Regional or District Council to make sure that the conditions are being met.
The majority of farmers will require Resource Consents from a Regional Council for their operations. These Consents are becoming increasingly complex and strenuous, and therefore these require active management.
2. Regional and District Plans
Each Regional and District Council must develop and maintain certain Plans in order to meet their obligations under the Resource Management Act.
Regional Plans contain rules which govern the use of resources within the region. This sets out which activities are Permitted, those which require a Resource Consent, and those which are Prohibited.
In many cases, elements of a farming operation will be Permitted Activities (i.e. you do not need to apply for a Resource Consent), however the onus remains on the farmer to ensure that they understand the Permitted Activities threshold and that they comply with these standards.
3. Supplier Agreements
As consumers are demanding that businesses are responsible and proactive in terms of environmental management and footprints, many companies are incorporating environmental compliance, monitoring and reporting elements into their Supplier Agreements.
In some instances, farmers are now being audited against these Supplier Agreements to check that the data and claims made by a farmer are accurate, and that the farm is operating in accordance with Good Management Practices.
How Should You Best Manage Your Farm’s Environmental Compliance Demands?
Maintaining environmental compliance is an ongoing commitment for consent holders. If you have a good understanding of the requirements, these can be built into your normal business management systems, including:
- Toolbox / weekly staff meetings:
A good forum to check that day-to-day requirements are being completed, for example effluent irrigation management and records, effluent storage pond level management, leak detection chamber inspections and water use.
- Strategic Planning Documents or Annual Calendars:
Great opportunity to capture placeholders for larger compliance demands, such as renewing your Resource Consent, submitting water take data, preparing Annual Environmental Reports and reviewing Regional Plans against changes in your operations.
However, some businesses may feel more comfortable getting specialist help — particularly if they have multiple interactions with the environment, complex operations, or challenges with environmental compliance.
How Can We Help?
Our team of Environmental Consultants are specialists in translating environmental regulation into every-day language, and in building processes that make the demands manageable. We work with you, on and off-farm, to develop a framework that minimises risk and reduces your environmental footprint, as well as proactively managing compliance demands. Our services extend to farm effluent system monitoring, farm inspections, risk identification and management, reporting and liaising with the regulatory bodies, staff training and environmental monitoring and reporting.
For more information about farm environmental compliance and to find out what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Posted: 26 January 2022