Farming Policy

TOP doesn’t want to tell farmers how to farm. Farmers want to protect and nurture their land for future generations, but they need some support.

Summary

Farmers have great ideas about how to protect the environment but are frustrated by complex and fragmented regulations.

We believe that by working together farmers can come up with solutions to local problems. TOP would only regulate it if that doesn’t work.

TOP's solutions:

  • TOP would create one simplified, holistic environmental framework covering biodiversity, climate change and freshwater quality. 
  • Develop a certification programme for environmentally friendly farms.
  • Provide monetary incentives for farmers who protect stands of native trees and wetlands.
  • Allow farmers to develop their own schemes to protect local water catchments.

Farming details

Certification Scheme

TOP would create an overarching, holistic environmental management system for farmers to follow it would enable farmers to ensure they are meeting all the necessary environmental standards.

The scheme would lead to a “tick” programme that would make it easy for farmers to see where they are achieving the standards, and where they need to improve.

Ultimately it would lead to a certification programme that states whether a farm is environmentally friendly or not. This would be similar to health certifications on food, allowing environmentally conscious consumers to easily prioritise the best performing farm produce.

Incentives for the protection of wetlands and native trees

TOP would provide monetary incentives to farmers who protect existing stands of native trees and wetlands, and who plant native trees on erosion-prone land and riverbanks.

TOP would ensure that planting along riverbanks and for erosion protection would be eligible for gaining carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

TOP will provide farmers and their local communities with tools to be able to work together to develop the best way of protecting local catchments to achieve national water quality goals rather than mandating a particular approach.

TOP will provide incentives to achieve targets but will introduce environmental taxes for those farmers who do not protect their land.

Fresh Water

TOP believes that the proposed approach to protecting freshwater as released under the Policy Statement for Freshwater Management is too prescriptive.

TOP would encourage farmers to work together to develop the best way of protecting local catchments, rather than following national regulations.

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