Most farmers are doing a really good job in some areas and have room for improvement in others. The aim of a FEP is to identify and record the environmental risks specific to your property and come up with a plan to achieve Good Management Practice (GMP).
There are six key management areas for farmers to consider to operate at GMP:
- Nutrient Management
- Irrigation Management
- Soils Management
- Collected Animal Effluent Management
- Livestock Management
- Offal Pits
The FEP process allows farmers to focus on the management areas which matter to their particular farm and identify environmental improvements which also improve your bottom line.
The key conditions of the BCI consent are:
- All shareholders must complete a FEP
- All shareholder FEPs must be audited
- A whole scheme nitrogen loss limit, as estimated by OVERSEER
- Keep all records to be available upon request
Part 1: Your Information
Part 1 of the FEP is for us to record all necessary information relating to your farm operation in one place. To complete Part 1, you will need to have the following information available:
- Contact details of yourself, your leasee, farm managers and/or advisors who helped prepare your FEP
- Legal descriptions of all properties managed under FEP
- Effective, irrigated, dryland areas
- Land use, including stock numbers by month
- Copies of all ECan resource consents and Compliance Monitoring Reports
- Irrigation by type, area and land use
- Average annual rainfall and irrigation data
- Soil moisture trigger and target levels
- Latest nutrient budget(s)
- Contact details of individual who completed nutrient budget
- Copy of FEP (if completed with another organisation)
- Farm Map
Part 2: Risk ID and Management
Part 2 of your FEP is to identify the environmental risks on your property and look at what you can do to improve your farm management practices. Part 2 is where you create a plan to improve your practices over the next few years by using “Actions”.
To complete Part 2 of your FEP you will need to have the following information available:
- ID Land Management Units (LMUs)
- Copies of existing management plans for property (e.g. Effluent Management Plans or Riparian Management Plans)
- Copies of any Ashburton DC stockwater compliance reports
Land Management Units (LMUs)
Land Management Units (LMUs) are where you divide your farm into similarly managed areas, so you can identify risks and target improvements. Your LMUs will generally be split up according to irrigation type, where effluent is spread, soil type and land use.
For some farms, the nutrient budget blocks and LMUs are the same. However, if you have different crop rotations or many different soil types, you can simplify the number of LMUs on your property by grouping your nutrient budget blocks according to your ability to change the management of that land.
E.g. A pivot without VRI irrigating pasture over three different soil types. Your nutrient budget will be split into three “blocks”, but they can be grouped as one LMU as you are unable to change how much water you apply between the soil types. The different soil types increase the risk of over-irrigating, therefore an “Action” could be to consider getting more detailed soil mapping and consider installing VRI technology to improve your water usage efficiency.
Why have an Action?
Throughout S.12-17 there are opportunities to create ‘Actions.’ The actions are prescribed by you, and should have a realistic timeframe to achieve GMP. An Action shows how you are planning to meet GMP in the future.
Types of Actions:
1. In-progress Actions: It is important that you continue your actions listed in last year’s FEP. Just include them as if they were a new action. You may want to reassess the timeframe. Remember, your actions will be assessed in your audit.
2. Audit Actions: If you have completed an audit, your auditor may have given you some required or suggested actions. These can be included in the same way as your existing actions are included.
3. New Actions: There may be a new possibility or venture that you want to investigate, or practice your plan on implementing on your farm. Creating a new action under the related target is a good place to record this plan.
Action ‘To-Do’ List:
Once you have completed your FEP you will receive a summary list of your actions. You will be able to see this list on the front page of your FarmEnvironment tab in WaterLine, and you will receive a summary email.
The actions and your progress in their completion will be assessed in your audit, as well as your current practises.