AIC Environmental Collective:
Auditing Results 2018-19

Background

The AIC Environmental Collective currently holds 170 Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) covering about 85,0000ha of farmed land in the Amuri, Hawarden and Hanmer Springs area. Almost all larger irrigating farms in the catchment are members of the AIC Environmental Collective, either as AIC shareholders or independent members.

The AIC Environmental Collective was established by the Amuri Irrigation Company (AIC) in early 2013. The Collective has an Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) approved by the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) which meets its requirements for an Audited Self-management environmental scheme¹. The Collective’s EMS was first approved in 2014 and has been updated to meet new requirements and procedures. The latest version was approved in December 2018. The EMS specifies the:

    • Required content of FEPs
    • Good Management Practice (GMP) standards that members need to meet covering six different farm management areas:
      • Nutrient Management
      • Irrigation Management
      • Collected Animal Effluent Management
      • Waterway and Riparian Management
      • Soil Management
      • Management of Hot-Spots, such as silage stacks and offal pits
    • The governance and management procedures of the Collective
    • The required process and standards for independent auditing of FEPs by ECan approved FEP Auditors.

Farmers are assessed by a standard defined by industry groups known as Good Management Practice (GMP). FEPs are individual to each farm and identify environmental risks and actions required for the farm to meet GMP standards to address those risks. FEPs are independently audited to assess what progress the farm has made in meeting any actions identified in the FEP and if the farm is at GMP or any areas in need of further improvement.

Each farm audited receives a detailed FEP Audit report listing required actions and a timeframe for implementation and an overall grading ranging from A to D:

    • A Grade: All management areas meet GMP standards or better. Repeat audit within 4 years.
    • B Grade: Some areas are in need of further action, but the farm is on-track to achieve objectives within a reasonable agreed timeframe. Repeat audit within 2 years.
    • C Grade: Some areas are in need of further action and these not on track to be meet within an agreed timeframe. Repeat audit within 1 year.
    • D Grade: At least one area is in need of urgent attention. Repeat audit within 6 months.

All farms must have a FEP in place within six months of joining the Collective which must be audited within three years of joining. The timing of repeat audits depends on the grade received.

The Collective has been auditing FEPs since 2015 and recently concluded its fourth consecutive round of auditing.
A total of 276 FEP Audits have been undertaken over
this period.

 

Auditing Results for 2018/19

70 audits were completed by a team of five ECan approved auditors between 13th November 2018 and 4th April 2019. All audits were completed with fit for purpose Overseer nutrient budget for the 2017/18 season.

There was a mix of first and repeat audits undertaken across a range of farm types, see Table 1 below.

Completed Audits 2018/19

Total audits undertaken
70

Number of first audits
24

Number of repeat audits
46

Audits by farm type:

Dairy
33

Beef & Sheep
28

Dairy Support
6

Other
3

The distribution of audit grades for the 2018/19 round is shown in Chart 1 below.

Distribution of audit grade

GRADE: A – NUMBER: 14 – 20%
GRADE: B – NUMBER: 52 – 74%
GRADE: C – NUMBER: 4 – 6%
GRADE: D – NUMBER: 0 – 0%

There has been a steady improvement in performance and currently 97% of farms in the Collective are either A or B grade compared to 73% in 2015/16. There is a steady decline in the number of farms at either D or C grade from 26% in 2015/16 to only 6% C grade and zero D grades in 2018/19 see Table 2 below.

Two farms recorded repeat C grades during this auditing round. They have been notified of the actions required before their next audit. If satisfactory action is not made, then they will be subject to compliance action.

The 2019/20 round of FEP auditing is now being planned and will include about 85 audits. This means all farms will have been audited at least once² and the majority of farms will have had at least two FEP Audits.

 

AIC Environmental Collective membership

Total membership
176

AIC Shareholder Members
143

Non-shareholder Independent Members
33

Total FEPs on File
170

Area (ha) covered by shareholder FEPs
56,424

Area (ha) covered by Independents FEPs
29,263

Total area (ha) covered by Collective managed FEPs
85,687

1. The AIC Environmental Collective EMS is available on the AIC Website.
2. Some independent irrigating farms and new AIC shareholders did not join the Collective until 2017/18, meaning these farms must be audited by 2021 at the latest.

 

Click on this link to view a pdf of the Auditing Results 2018/19

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