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Helping farmers get “ahead of the game”

Kiwifruit orchardists are among those who will attend the first BOP Future Farming Symposium in October.

A unique event bringing farmers and growers together to be informed and prepared for looming environmental regulations will be help in the Bay of Plenty on October 24.

 The first BOP Future Farming Symposium, on a mixed dairy and kiwifruit property at Otamarakau will give farmers and horticulturalists the chance to listen to and quiz  the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw, Martin Workman Director Water, Ministry for the Environment and Todd Muller, National spokesperson for Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Forestry.

Their addresses and panel discussion will be followed by three workshops led by industry leaders on ways those in the primary sector can take positive steps to address environmental issues on their land and prepare for government regulations to come.

“The aim of the symposium is to get Bay of Plenty farmers and growers ahead of the game,” says Rick Burke, chairman of the Pan-Sector Industry Alumni Events subcommittee which is organising the event.

“Growers and farmers will have the chance to listen to these speakers, learn what regulations are coming at us in terms of environmental issues for the land, and ask questions of them during a panel discussion,” says Rick.

“The opening keynote speakers will leave farmers and growers feeling ‘where to from here’, and that’s where the workshops after lunch come in. They are designed to give growers and farmers “tool-kits” to help take control of their own destiny, to be environmentally sustainable and at the same time improve profitability.”

All who attend will have the chance to participate in the workshops on Land Environmental Plans, water quality and sub catchment initiatives, led by speakers from the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ, Zespri, NZ Avocado, Beef + Lamb NZ, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, rural professionals and award-winning farmers and growers.

The first BOP Future Farming Symposium in October is open to livestock farmers too.

The symposium is an initiative which has grown from the alumni (including previous winners) of the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards and its aim is to provide pan-sector support, education and innovation for sustainable food and fibre production.

“We all face similar challenges and by pan-sectors working together through ‘a team approach’ we can drive meaningful change,” says Rick.

The symposium, which begins at 9.30am on Thursday October 24, will be held on the 850 ha mixed kiwifruit and dairy property at Otamarakau owned by Bruce Cameron, chairman of Zespri. It is open to all Bay of Plenty growers and farmers, but registration is essential as numbers are limited.

To register for the BOP Future Farming Symposium on October 24 go to: https://www.facebook.com/bopfuturefarmingsymposium/

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