Supplying nutrients, technology and specialised advice to farmers is second nature to your co-operative like Ravensdown. But over the past few years, environmental compliance measures have impacted the way farmers operate their businesses across New Zealand. Not only have the rules changed, but the stakes are now higher when it comes to gaining and maintaining a farm 'licence to operate'. Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) or Freshwater Farm Plans make up part of these measures.

By 2025, all farms over 20ha will require a Farm Environment Plan. Many farmers will require nutrient budgets, and some will need resource consents for land use such as winter grazing. The demand for skilled people to assist farmers with these compliance documents is set to grow, and as a nutrient provider with a specialised field and environmental consulting team, Ravensdown is in a unique position to meet the needs of our farming customers requiring FEPs and other environmental expertise.

Ravensdown's purpose of enabling smarter farming for a better New Zealand means that where our customers go, we go too. The journey is one to be shared. It's up to us now to provide the products, expertise and technology to not only help our shareholders maintain their economic viability. But do it in a way that both reduces environmental impacts and encourages sustainable farming practice.

How can Ravensdown help?

  • Ravensdown offers a single point of contact for all your nutrient needs from fertiliser planning to FEPs to more complicated. environmental compliance, such as resource consents and scenario modelling.
  • We know you and your farm. This makes things easier when it comes to completing an FEP.
  • We provide practical, up-to-date advice and support regarding environmental regulation and compliance on your farm.
  • Our HawkEye software can be used for all your farm nutrient ordering, recording and reporting.
 

FAQs

What is an FEP?

A Farm Environment Plan (FEP) provides a view of how a farm’s natural resources, environment and farm management system work together. It helps identify risk, recognise areas for improvement and creates a plan for future actions. It is a living document, unique to a property, and is built around industry Good Management Practices (GMPs). 

There are 21 GMPs that currently form the basis of an FEP, centred around the improvement of farm water quality (notably nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and faecal contaminants). 

GMPs also exist for other aspects of farm management and are often categorized by management area, for example: 

  • Nutrients 
  • Waterways 
  • Land and soil 
  • Effluent 
  • Water use and irrigation 
  • Point source (offal pits, rubbish pits etc) 
  • Biodiversity 
  • Greenhouse gases.

In certain situations, there may be overlap between farm practices across different management areas such as winter grazing, which could impact nutrient loss, soil structure and waterbodies. 

To be effective, the FEP needs to be a living document the farmer and their various advisors refer to. It’s not just an action plan for future activities, but also a record of the historical activities undertaken to reduce environmental impact. 

Why do I need an FEP?

An FEP helps build a bridge between the environment in which the farm sits and the farm system. It helps identify risks, records how soils, nutrients, pasture and stock are managed and provides a holistic view of the entire farm system. It can also assist with your understanding of environmental compliance requirements around farming activities. Some of the other benefits of an FEP include: 

  • Recording your progress towards achieving industry-standard GMPs, a demonstration you are doing ‘the right thing’ on your farm. 
  • Demonstrating to the wider public and our international customers that we are working towards balancing farm productivity while minimising environmental impact collectively. 

FEPs are often required for certain farm assurance schemes and supply agreements for example, for meat, wool and milk companies. 

What provides the basis for a FEP?

A range of industry agreed Good Management Practices (GMPs) relating to water quality are typically used as a basis for outlining practices currently implemented on-farm within an FEP.  

The underpinning concepts for GMPs are: 

  1. Understand the nutrient loss pathways on your property.
  2. Assess risks to water quality.
  3. Manage appropriately. 
  4. Record actions. 
  5. Review regularly. 

Why do I need it now? Can I not wait till 2025?

We are anticipating there will be a rush to complete FEPs in time for the 2025 deadline. Because the process can take time depending on the complexity of your farm system, we suggest starting the process as soon as possible. 

How much will it cost?

Ravensdown’s aim is to provide a quality FEP for our customers at a competitive price. Your agri manager will discuss the complexity of requirements and the pricing with you.  We also offer continuity of service – our agri managers will continue to visit on a regular basis to discuss your nutrient needs, so you will have ongoing support around your FEP needs as well.

How do I get started?

If you are a managed customer, a Ravensdown agri manager will be in touch regarding your needs for a Farm Environment Plan (FEP). If you’d like to get in touch with us directly about starting the FEP process, you can call the Customer Centre on 0800 100 123 and one of our experts will contact you.

What information do I need to start my FEP?

Your agri manager will be in touch with specific requirements for your FEP. Part of this may include filling out an information form with some basic farm information. If you are a Ravensdown customer, we may already have some of this information. 

  • locational data – address, title numbers, Farms Online and/orAgriBaseID 
  • supply numbers
  • seasonal stocking rates and types 
  • nutrient management and budgets 
  • pasture management 
  • effluent pond volumes 
  • copies of relevant resource consents 
  • irrigation structures, rates and schemes 
  • seasonal fertiliser applications and methods 
  • pest control 
  • crop types, times and harvesting methods 
  • cultivation methods.