The word ‘audit’ usually bears negative connotations of tedious, unnecessary work to appease a faction of government. For Canterbury farmers, a top-of-mind example is the enforcement of ‘farm environment plans’. Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has recently implemented requirements to have a ‘farm environment plan’ for farms that meet certain criteria based around location, farm size and nitrogen leaching levels. A farm environment plan is a farm audit focussing on environmental impacts and sustainability. They are part of the larger Land and Water Regional Plan, implemented by ECAN which aims to provide clear direction on how land and water are to be managed and help deliver community aspirations for water quality in both urban and rural areas. The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has a management plan in place for farmers and the Marlborough District Council have one in place for dairy farmers. However, ECAN covers the widest area.

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