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Keeping an eye out

Words supplied by Irrigation NZ

23 May 2017

Long gone are the days when you could leave the keys in the truck and the doors to your sheds unlocked and not think anything of it. Farmers and growers have, by necessity, become a lot more security conscious over the years.

“Keeping an eye on things takes on a whole new meaning when you live rurally” says Irrigation NZ CEO, Andrew Curtis. “Farmers and growers would need eyes in the back of their head to notice everything going on around them, which is why neighbours and established neighbourhood watch groups are so important out here.”

Curtis was speaking out about security in light of the recent ‘attack’ on irrigation equipment in the Mackenzie District. Omarama farmer, Richard Subtil, had dozens of irrigator tyres slashed, resulting in an estimated $40,000 worth of damage. At the time, Green Peace campaigner, Genevieve Toop, said it was entirely possible that someone took out their frustration on this farmer’s equipment and that she could “understand why.”

“Hopefully it’s not the beginning of an ugly trend – targeting people in the rural sector because of some perceived blight on the environment. Vandalism is a totally unacceptable response and in this instance, clearly misguided given Subtil is an Environment Award-winning operator.”

Irrigation NZ works closely with its Risk Partner, FMG, providing farmers and growers with information and resources to keep themselves – and their assets - safe.

“Prevention is always better than cure and farmers need to be each other’s eyes and ears and report any suspicious behaviour,” advised Paul Ralph, Manager Risk Services, FMG. “We support advice from NZ Police, which is to report any suspicious behaviour no matter how small it may seem, as your information may be the key that resolves a wider pattern of offending.”

Irrigation NZ is also introducing risk management into its training programmes and through its partnership with FMG, can provide practical advice to farmers.

“Irrigation NZ’s focus is to ensure the equipment is secure from a business continuity perspective. If a farmer or grower can’t use their irrigator then they run the risk of it impacting their livelihood, particularly at this critical time of the year” said Curtis. “Partnering with FMG enables us to share the experience and knowledge they have of the wider range of risks faced by rural communities so together, we can promote a more holistic view of risk and how to manage it.”

FMG runs a series of Rural Crime Prevention Workshops, which are open to anyone living in rural communities. They have also produced a rural crime prevention guide to help keep your farm, your family - and your irrigators – safe.

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