14 Nov 2011

Farmers to fight new conversion rules

1:04 pm on 14 November 2011

Federated Farmers is vowing to fight tough new rules on dairy farm conversions in Southland.

Southland Regional Council last week issued a draft policy to make all new dairy farms a discretionary activity, which means farmers will need to prove they can comply with resource conditions before the conversion goes ahead.

If confirmed, the policy will come into effect in December, with submissions allowed until March next year.

Chief executive Ciaran Keogh says the new rules are in response to the declining water quality of rivers, mainly due to intensification of dairy farming in the region.

Twenty conversions are underway and 20 more are expected next year.

However, Federated Farmers says robust rules are already in place, which are helping to improve the state of the region's rivers, as detailed in a recent State of the Environment report issued by the council.

Russel MacPherson, who heads the federation's Southland dairy section, says the group will lodge a submission in opposition to the policy.