12 May 2014
Certification of nutrient management advisers – the icing on the cake
The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification process has now been available for six months and has achieved an impressive level of uptake. To date there are more than 40 certified advisers in the field, with another 60 currently in application phase.
Jason Griffin, Ballance Agri-Nutrients key and corporate accounts manager for the lower North Island, described the certification programme as “the icing on the cake” which brings together years of training and experience in nutrient management. He is grateful that the certification programme is available to formalise the level of knowledge and skills involved in effective nutrient management, and to ensure farmers are receiving advice from qualified people.
Likewise, Sue Quilter, Ravensdown key account manager for the East Coast of the North Island said “after 16 years in the field I found the certification process a valuable experience”.
“It gives me more confidence that what is being advised is indeed in line with the latest research and industry standards. Working in an isolated area on the East Coast for so long it’s easy to feel that you’re going down your own track at times, but the certification process was very reassuring for me personally. It’s great to have a stamp of approval for my practice.”
“It certainly wasn’t without its challenges; with a large dairy farming component it required a great deal of learning for someone like me who hasn’t worked with dairy farms for decades, but it was relevant and a good mind broadening experience to understand the latest science and terminology in dairying,” Sue said.
The annual continuing professional development requirements of the certification programme also ensure that knowledge is kept up to date.
“As more and more farmers learn about the certification programme it will become the benchmark and be demanded by them,” said Jason. Sue also pointed out that the certification process provides the reassurance and seamless future proofing necessary to meet evolving council requirements.
Both certified nutrient management advisers agree that the endorsement provided by the certification process is critical in ensuring their clients know that resources are being managed in ways that don’t compromise the environment, that are evidence based, and that, ultimately, provide the best outcomes for farmers.
The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme is an outcome of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) through DairyNZ and is coordinated by the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand with a range of partners.
The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand
The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand (FANZ) is a trade association representing the New Zealand manufacturers of superphosphate and nitrogen fertilisers. FANZ has two member companies – Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd and Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd. Both of these companies are farmer owned co-operatives with some 45,000 farmer shareholders between them. FANZ member companies supply over 98 per cent of all fertiliser used in New Zealand. This represents a $2 billion share of the market.
To promote good management practices, FANZ and its member companies develop training programmes, codes of practice and industry information fact sheets. They fund research, partner with government on research and development projects and work closely with other organisations in the agricultural sector on industry-good issues. Industry research and development spending exceeds $16 million per annum. This includes funding for the OVERSEER® nutrient management tool.
FANZ supports and encourages an environmentally responsible science-based approach to nutrient management and its regulation. FANZ member companies provide products that are critical to New Zealand farming systems along with research that supports both environmentally sustainable farming practices and government’s export growth agenda. FANZ is influential across all agricultural sectors, including dairy, sheep, beef, arable and horticulture.
More information about FANZ can be found on the website at www.fertiliser.org.nz
The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme
The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme has been established to certify nutrient management advisers in New Zealand.
The aim of the programme is to build and uphold a transparent set of industry standards for nutrient management advisers to meet so they provide nationally consistent advice of the highest standard to farmers.
In 2012 DairyNZ commissioned the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand to establish the programme as part of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).
The programme has an advisory group (PDF) with pan-sector representation which allows the agricultural industry to speak with one voice regarding the qualifications and ongoing proficiency of those who advise on nutrient use and management in the farming community.
More information on the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme can be found on the website at www.nmacertification.org.nz
Dr Philip Mladenov
Fertiliser Association of New Zealand
04 460 6616 or 021 487 954