Aorere Rai

'Aorere/Rai Project; farmers as Leaders in water quality action.'

This 3 year SFF funded project aims to build and implement a farmer leadership model to effectively address water quality issues in intensively farmed catchments. The aim is to trial this practically through the leadership of two Upper South Island catchments, the Aorere and Rai.

The project builds on NZ Landcare Trust and local (Aorere Catchment) integrated catchment management experience in addressing water quality issues, empowering dairy farmers to take the lead in water quality restoration.

Utilising technical experts 'on tap not on top’motivates farmers and encourages local knowledge, leadership, peer mentoring, practical tools and willingness to implement best management practices. This model has already led to significant on-farm investment and water quality improvements in the Aorere catchment.

Coupling the recently surfacing, serious Rai water quality issues with best management implementation within the Aorere, offers significant peer mentoring and information sharing opportunities.

As well as improving water quality and building dairy farming leadership, the project aims to create a proven sustainable catchment management model with wide applicability. 

Taking a broader perspective, dairy farming will continue to be a major contributor to NZ’s export earnings. Ensuring the industry is sustainable means more than just developing technologies to increase production and economic returns. Implementing practical solutions to potential environmental issues may help avoid overly restrictive regulation and unfavorable market reactions.

Therefore this project seeks to provide a framework for marrying sound scientific information with community skills, knowledge and leadership to create a ‘farmers as leaders’ approach to dairying sustainability. This model will have national significance