Farm Environment Plans (FEPs)

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.

Why FEPs?TemplateWhat do I need?LMUsFEP ActionsPrivacy
BCI holds resource consent CRC147697 on behalf of all shareholders to discharge nitrogen into groundwater. By joining the scheme, properties irrigated by BCI or Acton become exempt from ECan’s proposed nutrient management rules.

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
Barrhill-Chertsey Irrigation customers can complete their Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) using the approved template where they order water WaterLINE 
Your FEP is split into two parts: Part 1: Your Information and Part 2: Risk ID and Management. For those updating their FEP much of the template will be pre-populated with your previous FEP information.

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.

To meet the environmental targets and objectives of your FEP, all shareholders will need to operate their farm at “Good Management Practice” (GMP). As you complete your FEP, you will identify things you need to do, called “Actions”.  Each Action should minimise the risks of your LMUs, state what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.

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.

BCI needs to report on whole scheme nitrogen loss loads, progress with completing FEPs and overall audit results. However, we will not be reporting on individuals. Your particular FEP and all related information can only be viewed by authorised BCI and Acton staff and external FEP Auditors. BCI and Acton will only pass on your specific FEP information to other parties with your permission.