Rural contractors have formed an industry leadership group at their annual conference to make farmers and growers more aware of the benefits of using accredited agrichemical contractors and the risks of not using qualified professionals.

Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) CEO Andrew Olsen says his agrichemical contractor members bring years of experience as well as the requirement to be trained in handling and applying chemicals safely.“We think farmers and growers deserve to know they reduce their risks by using our members and they don’t get the same benefits using people who don’t do any training or accreditation.

“It’s a sad fact that despite the harm they can pose to farmers and the environment, this handful of cowboys face little chance of facing any enforcement.. We’ve formed this leadership group to see what more practical requirements from the regulators could look like if we worked together with agencies like Growsafe and WorkSafe as well as our friends in Federated Farmers.

“We want to see an accreditation system that is easily understood by members and farmers, a requirement for basic and advanced training for anyone handling agrichemicals and enforcement to stop those who take no account of the risks they pose.’

Andrew Olsen says it’s not just farmers and growers who face risks if they don’t use accredited agrichemical contractors. “Agrichemical distributors can face the liabilities when a container leaks during a delivery or in an insecure shed.”

A new partnership between with RCNZ unveiled at its annual conference in Invercargill this week will see Nufarm work closely with Croplands in offering training programmes and technical expertise in the field of agricultural chemicals and machinery to RCNZ members.