Rural Contractors New Zealand – the only national association and the leading advocate for rural contractors in New Zealand – is urging farmers to ensure their agricultural contractor is a member of the organisation.
The warning comes in the wake of a recent Fair Go item that saw a Central Otago farmer lose a $60,000 linseed crop due to a mistake in the spray application to the crop.
“Farmers should use a Registered Chemical Applicator and preferably a member of RCNZ to ensure –as far as possible – that the potential for mistakes like this happening are minimised,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton.
“This also gives farmers the back-up that a contractor — who is part of our insurance scheme –will have insurance cover in these types of circumstances.”
Mr Parton says RCNZ members who are part of its Registered Chemical Applicator scheme are trained and regularly updated in the safe and expert handling of applying chemicals to crops and pastures.
“RCNZ has introduced its chemical application accreditation programme to meet the needs of both our members and the industry.
“The application of agrichemicals has to be carried out in a competent and professional manner to ensure the enhancement of the crop and the safety of the operator, the environment and the public.
Mr Parton says there are two levels of agrichemical applicator accreditation available through Rural Contractors New Zealand:
– Basic Chemical Applicator; and
– Registered Chemical Applicator
RCNZ promotes to central and local government, as well as industry associations, the following policy: Any person applying agrichemicals in a public place or on private property for hire and reward, shall either be:
– The holder of a Registered Chemical Applicator accreditation or;
– The holder of a Basic Chemical Applicator (or equivalent) accreditation operating under the immediate and direct supervision of the holder of a Registered Chemical Applicator accreditation.
Mr Parton says more information about RCNZ membership and the Registered Chemical Applicator programme are on the RCNZ website.