Thursday, August 08, 2019

Waikato's dirty farmers

Five years ago, the Waikato Regional Council ended aerial monitoring of dairy farms, ostensibly because it caused stress to the poor sensitive little farmers. What were they stressed about? Being caught breaking the law, of course:

Waikato's dairy farmers again delivered a grim record of environmental compliance for the region.

The return to aerial monitoring has revealed the extent of dirty diarying.

The latest effluent compliance statistics from the Waikato Regional Council show significant non-compliance continued to be a problem with 13 per cent (121 farms) of the 936 farms monitored during the 2018-19 season falling into that category.

Of the farms monitored, 497 (53 per cent) were categorised as as 'high risk', due to previous significant non-compliance or past issues with effluent storage.

Twenty farmers are now being prosecuted, and another 45 have been issued abatement notices. Others have been warned or issued infringements. And hopefully all of that will force them to clean up their act. But it speaks volumes about the honesty of the industry that their kneejerk response to environmental problems is to oppose monitoring and enforcement, rather than own their problems and correct them. Like the fishing industry, it seems that a significant proportion of dairy farmers are simply criminals. And we should treat them like that, until they prove otherwise.