Thursday, April 05, 2012

Southland acts on dairy farming

Southland has a problem. Dirty dairying has produced a tide of cowshit, tainting Invercargill's water supply and threatening the internationally protected Waituna Lagoon. The good news is that Environment Southland has stepped up to solve the problem, by requiring all new dairy farms to have resource consent. Farmers, of course are outraged.

Its a good solution, which will limit the growth of the problem, but at the same time, its not enough. The core problem in Southland is that there are too many cows, producing too much shit. Now that its curbed future growth, Environment Southland needs to work on reducing cow numbers, and on making farmers mitigate the damage they do by fencing waterways, by riparian planting, and most of all by reducing stocking rates. And other councils need to follow their lead. This is a nationwide problem, which affects us all. Farmers are poisoning drinking water and polluting rivers in Canterbury, in Manawatu, and the Waikato. Its time they were forced to clean up their act everywhere, not just in Southland.