Fieldays: Clean, green farming discussed at University of Waikato seminar

15 June 2012

Seminar series

Panel: (L to R) Willy Leferink, Jenni Vernon, Professor Frank Scrimgeour and Professor Jacqueline Rowarth.

“People focus more on the bad side of what farmers do instead of the good things,” says Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Willy Leferink.

Speaking at a University of Waikato Fieldays Seminar entitled The Right to Farm, Mr Leferink was joined by university council member and farmer Jenni Vernon and Waikato Management School Dean Professor Frank Scrimgeour.

Clean farming aspirations

Mr Leferink said those in the agricultural industry aspire to a clean farming environment, but are dragged down by bad press.

Farmers need to collaborate and work towards more sustainable farming practices said Mr Leferink.
“New Zealanders absolutely have the right to farm, but people in the agricultural industry need to work together to obtain better outcomes.

“At the moment about 80-85% of people do a good job and aspire to clean, green farming.”


Professor Frank Scrimgeour argued the agricultural sector had to take action and not be bullied by regulation.

“There are a lot of regulations in place, but on the other hand we are making a lot of noise over some little things - we need to encourage the wider agricultural community to get involved when these issues arise. Whatever the regulatory regime is, make it work for you.”

Environmental impact

Speaking from personal experience, Jenni Vernon said New Zealanders will always have every right to farm, but need to be conscious of the environmental impact of their on-farm decision making.

The panel discussion was facilitated by new Agribusiness Professor Jacqueline Rowarth.

The University of Waikato is in its sixth year as a strategic partner with Fieldays, and Professor Rowarth is playing a key role in delivering the Fieldays Seminar Series.

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