Top Tips To Stay Ahead Of Compliance
From industry professionals
Tip #1 – Digital information will reduce compliance admin
Jerry Castellanos, Farmer Innovation Manager, Fonterra
“Capturing information digitally can save farmers a lot of effort and time when it comes to reporting and meeting compliance demands,” says Jerry. In his role as Farmer Innovations Manager for Fonterra, Jerry is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of farmers through digital innovation. “Farming is hard work, but we can help make it a little easier by giving back time.”
Jerry describes a vision of a ‘system of systems’ where on-farm technology works in unison, not isolation. “We would like future insights for farmers to be actionable and in the moment, not trying to interpret complex graphs and fill in reports at the end of the season.”
“The leap from recording farm information on paper to technology sensors is massive, so there needs to be a middle ground for adoption.” A step towards this, says Jerry is “helping farmers capture data only once.”
Farmers should only have to key in or collect information a single time, and it should feed into any system the farmer requires.
Jerry is helping make this happen today through driving a project where animal health information is connected from LIC’s MINDA LIVE to the Fonterra Digital Dairy Diary, something that farmers have been requesting for some time. Agrigate is the platform that sits between the two systems enabling data sharing. “It’s just the start of farmers being able to authenticate where they want their data to go,” says Jerry.
“One of the biggest challenges for farmers is trying to tell the right story, and prove that their story is right. You can’t tell a credible story from a bunch of paper reports.”
Jerry is excited about the opportunity to help farmers. “Giving back time so farmers can care for their animals, the land, spend time with family, or grow the value of assets – whatever motivates them.”
Tip #2 – Get A Free Environment Plan Specific To Your Farm
Ben Herbert, Fonterra Sustainable Dairy Advisor, Northland
“Every farm is different, and every regional council has unique requirements,” says Ben. “It’s an extra challenge for farmers trying to stay on top of changing compliance requirements,” he adds.
Ben started out in freshwater ecology and biodiversity roles within the public sector, but several years into his career, he decided to focus his efforts on supporting farmers directly. “I saw a different light, where bigger gains could be made in farming and dairy. The dairy industry is taking a lead because farmers are doers, they are practical people who work on the land.”
I saw a different light, where bigger gains could be made in farming and dairy. The dairy industry is taking a lead because farmers are doers, they are practical people who work on the land.
These days, Ben is a Fonterra Sustainable Dairy Advisor (SDA) in Northland. He works with farmers to implement Farm Environment Plans, with a hefty goal of all Fonterra farms having a plan by 2025. Engaging the support of a SDA comes at no cost to farmers, it’s just a matter of finding out who your local expert is. “The plans capture key elements in the environmental sustainability space. They take into account five different areas; nutrients, land and soil, waterways, effluent and irrigation.”
“Sustainability is a funny word as it has different perceptions, but essentially, sustainability comes with profitability. Sometimes it’s hard to marry those two up, but they are linked.”
The Farm Environment Plans first aim is to tackle compliance. But as Ben says, they also address things which may be regulated in the future, or simply put are “just the right thing to do.” Having a plan can also help unlock funding from regional councils, for example planting trees or fencing waterways. In Ben’s experience, it’s best to be proactive because “typically once rules come into place, the funding goes away.” He points out that having a plan is in farmers’ best interest. “If they don’t do something in time, they may get stung with a big dirty fine.”
Don’t be nervous, we are not about critiquing your work, or trying to catch people out, that’s not what we are here for.
Agrigate is working towards a future where Farm Environment Plans are living documents, ingesting information from the tools farmers already use to capture data. Watch this space! If you haven’t already, reach out to your local Sustainable Dairy Advisor or Fonterra Area Manager to request a farm visit to develop a Farm Environment Plan.
Tip #3 – Unlock Funding For Environmental Compliance
Craig Young, Farmer and ASB Senior Corporate Rural Manager
We want to leave our property in a better place for our children, that’s just how we roll.
Craig aims beyond just ticking the boxes for compliance, he is driven by, “improving the environment, making it sustainable and driving a positive perception for farmers.”
We introduced Craig in July’s issue – he balances demanding roles in several different teams; as a Senior Rural Corporate Manager at ASB, and as a farmer and shareholder of multiple dairy farms.
With the insight of both roles, Craig helped initiate the launch of ASB’s Environmental Compliance Loan for farmers. “You want people to make the right decisions to make their business more sustainable, and we just wanted to make the financial decision a bit easier.”
The ASB loan is up to $200,000, paid back over five years, at the cost of funds.
Read more about the ASB Rural Compliance Loan.
Agrigate makes it easy to share farm performance information and compliance insights with your bank manager, making working through options for your future much easier.