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Developing a Freshwater Farm Plan

Freshwater Farm Plans (FW-FP) must include key information, such as administrative details, on-farm risks identification and assessment, risk management and an action plan. Below is a guide on how to build your FWFP, which is based on 3 key steps: Risk identification and assessment, Risk management and Action Planning.

Guide to develop a FWFP

1. Create the plan

  • Collect information for your farm and the catchment area where the farm is located. Your regional council can provide information on your catchment context, challenges, and values (CCCV).
  • Create maps to identify different features of your farm. This can be separated, or you can use the same map to show different characteristics at the same time.
  • Create a list of risks to be managed, create a list of actions to manage those risks, and create a 5-year action plan to implement those changes.

2. Certify your plan

Farmers must engage with a certifier within 18 months of the regulations being ‘turned on’ in their area. Once certified, your Freshwater farm plan will need to be audited within 12 months of the initial certification.

3. Implement your 5-year action plan

Undertake the 5-year action plan to mitigate impacts on the environment as outlined in your certified plan.

4. Audit your plan

Farmers must arrange for an auditor to audit their farm within 12 months of certification. The auditor will assess whether the farmer is implementing the certified plan. The timeframe for the following audit will be dependent on your audit grade.

Freshwater farm plans will need to include:

Administrative details– Name, contact details of farm operator, owners, leaseholders, licence-holders of land on farm and the person that has prepared the plan.
– Physical address, legal titles, current resource consents
– Farm information (area, features, objectives, stock, supplements, forestry, crops, pasture)
Catchment context, challenges and values (CCCV)– Regulations
– Climate
– Freshwater bodies (catchment and sub catchment areas)
– Significant sites and biodiversity
– Tangata Whenua
Identification of Land Units– Physical characteristics and management factors
Identification of Inherent Vulnerabilities
– Farm boundaries
– Geology
– Land Resource Inventory/Land Use Capability (LRI/LUC)
– Waterbodies
– Slope
– Soil types
– Areas of land use
– Potential areas of Intensive Winter Grazing
– Areas under irrigation and frost protection
– Critical Source Areas (CSAs)
– Drainage system and areas
Identification of Farming Activities– Permanent and temporary fencing
– Riparian planting areas
– Soil erosion control
– Effluent system and application areas
– Groundwater and surface water takes
– Freshwater crossings (bridges, culverts, fords, etc.)
– Stock holding areas (feed pads, stand-off pads, etc.)
– Other stock related infrastructure
– Farm accessways (tracks, underpasses, etc.)
– Point source discharges (offal pits, rubbish dumps, etc.)
Risk Assessment– Erosion
– Critical Source Areas (CSAs)
– Nitrogen and Phosphorus losses
Action Plan (description, how action will address the risk, timeframe, cost)– Regulated actions (i.e: winter grazing)
– Catchment actions (i.e: contaminants entering waterways)
– Supplementary actions (i.e: N and P losses)

Written by Natalia Zefferino – Environmental Consultant