Kate comes from the rural Waikato, growing up in a dairy farming community before completing a Bachelor of Science, then a Master of Science at Massey University. Kate started off working for Horizons Regional Council in the regulatory and rural advice teams before joining Fonterra in 2016 where she spent several years as part of the sustainable dairying team delivering environmental services to farmers. At present, Kate is an Environment Programme Lead, where she provides technical support to the field teams and is currently developing Fonterra’s approach to integrating Freshwater regulatory requirements into Farm Environment Plans.
Farm Planning has long been used to manage and mitigate environmental risk. Fonterra has been developing farm plans since 2012, initially using a geospatial digital tool to map waterways on farm. This quickly expanded to a range of other focus areas including riparian management and defining farm management blocks. Over time the tool has become more comprehensive, as the plans evolved from demonstration of meeting standards to a farmer led risk identification and management, and decision support tool.
Today, the Tiaki tool is used to create Farm Environment Plans developed from numerous layers of spatially mapped data producing a digital map of the farm and its key risk features. This, combined with specialised one-on-one support from our team of Sustainable Dairying Advisors, produces a risk assessment that sits alongside farmer agreed actions to manage and mitigate those risks to the environment in alignment with good farming practices.
One of the challenges the industry is faced with now is how to keep plans relevant and fit for purpose as the focus shifts to wider than freshwater outcomes. Fonterra is looking to address this and support our farmers to be resilient through change through our Tiaki tool and an integrated planning approach.