Farmers are being advised to have a plan in place to cope with possible new compliance laws and other changes affecting the sector.
Recent farming confidence surveys are said to show a decline in confidence from the rural sector, with Federated Farmers' results revealing regulation and compliance remain top worries for farmers, along with uncertainty around the future of water regulations under the Government.
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Bridgit Hawkins, CEO of agricultural technology company ReGen, said the farming sector is coming under increasing pressure and the confidence survey results echo what she hears on the farm.
"Farmers are playing a bit of a guessing game on the Government's plans for their sector, especially around irrigation. They need more support to stand tall," said Ms Hawkins.
"Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, and we can't ignore the significant impact it has on the financial fortunes of New Zealand. The compliance freight train is coming, now's the time to actively plan for the future, and meet the changes head-on."
Rex Kane, a Southland farmer, emphasised the importance of working with sustainability representatives in planning for the future of his farm.
"Technology can always help people keep up with compliance," says Mr Kane.
"We've over-specified our effluent system to counter any changes and to use it more efficiently to transfer effluent nutrient over a bigger area than what is required for our environmental compliance.
"As a farmer, I've always been keen to have an open dialogue with both our Regional Council, as well as the dairy company's sustainability representatives, to front-foot change and anything that could affect us in the future."
ReGen is calling for a 50-year plan as the best way to turn boost farming confidence.
"Now, more than ever, farmers need to be thinking about the inter-generational future of their farm, and the wider industry, if they are to become more resilient to the changes currently taking place in the sector," said Ms Hawkins.
"As well as the day-to-day business of farming farmers are also dealing with complex issues - the environment, health and safety, climate change, good management practices, alternative proteins, and globalisation. This is why we are encouraging farmers to plan ahead so they are more easily able to adapt to the significant changes heading their way".