Representatives from academic institutions, crown research institute, three regional councils, biological fertiliser companies, Maori land trusts, FoMA, Federated Farmers and Rural Women New Zealand attended the information day held last week in Rotorua.
This shows there is a growing interest in the Biological Farming Systems in New Zealand as can be seen from the number and the quality of people, said Dr Guna Magesan, organiser of the event.
The free information day was organised by the New Zealand Biological Farming Systems Research Centre for local farmers and sponsored by Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman John Cronin was unable to attend the seminar but his opening address was read by John Paterson, the Regional Councils Sustainable Farming Advisor.
Biological farming systems are attracting considerable interest and appear to hold some promise for protecting our environment, he said.
Conventional farmers understand more and more that they need to look to the land itself and look to nature to find more sustainable ways of managing their farms. We understand that modern biological farming methods use both nature and science to build healthy soil quality that can support healthy crops and healthy livestock.
The combining of good science with sound farming practices should be a drawcard for any farmer, he said.
Dr Ravi Sangakkara, Chair in crop science at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, one of the keynote speakers, spoke on Effective Microbes Technology. For many farmers, the topic was reasonably new and they commented positively about the work, organiser Dr Magesan said.
Many of the participants felt they were happy to be part of the growing trend in sustainable farming through biological farming systems, but they wanted more scientific data to be presented at the seminar to have a good discussion, he said.
Although the seminar was aimed at a small group of local farmers from the Bay of Plenty, more than 120 people from all over New Zealand participated in the seminar.
Gifford McFadden, a Trustee and the Project Leader for biological farming systems research, said people from Whangarei in the north to Balclutha in the South, Gisborne in the East to Raglan in the West registered for the information day.
Many local farmers and biological fertiliser suppliers from in and around Rotorua also participated. They came from Edgecumbe, Galatea, Lake Karapiro, Matamata, Paeroa, Putaruru, Raetihi, Reporoa, Taupo, Tauranga, Te Puke, Thames, Waihi and Whakatane.
Many of the participants took part in the Group Discussion to take biological farming forward. Comments and suggestions will be circulated to the participants.
New Zealand Biological Farming Systems Research Centre is the trade name of the Rotorua Lakes and Land Trust a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Rotorua/Taupo Province of Federated Farmers.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Guna Magesan
Phone: 027 919 4268 or 07 349 1943