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Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG)

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Mark Bryan

Author

10 June 2021

Where are we now?

Nobody needs to be told that Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) has been in the headlights for the past couple of years.

2019 gave us the Task Force, which then led to the 2020 Action Group, which itself was then disrupted by Covid. This group have now identified 7 ‘Short Term Outcomes for Animal Welfare’ which can be found on MPI's website.

In between, of course, we have also had the government’s Essential Freshwater programme and ES’s interpretation of this; and also the establishment of the Southland Intensive Winter Grazing NES-FW Advisory Group (SIWGNESFWAG in case you wondered), and their report is available on the ES website.

We were not involved in either the Task Force nor the Action Group; nor the ES work, and so can’t really comment on their processes or the technical aspects of these. However, we absolutely see our role as supporting our clients through these processes and through the changing times ahead.

At times like this, we fall back on our purpose. At VetSouth we’re all about being Here for Good. In other words, we're here for the long term. We’re part of a fantastic community and we value that and our place in that; and we want that community to continue to thrive and be strong. Our farmers are a key part of that community, and we want you to continue to be successful and sustainable; and your families and whanau to enjoy good health and a continued sense of purpose.

And of course, as vets, we can’t lose sight of the animals in all of this. So for us, it’s about putting all those together and balancing all those interests — and making sure they all stay aligned.

We passionately believe that we can continue to align all of these goals. The environment, animal welfare, farming systems, and our rural communities are all intertwined; and even though the committees and decisions are largely decided by Wellington, our role as vets sits somehow at the intersection of much of this.

Whether we like it or not, the urban perspective is changing and throwing more challenges at those of us in the rural sector. We’ll be here to support you, to work with you, to represent your view and to help evolve together. We want you to continue to succeed, and we’ll continue to do our best to support you to do that.

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