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Hosts . . James and Bridget McNally, with daughter Olivia, are welcoming people on to their North Otago farm as part of the Open Gates programme. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

North Otago farmers James and Bridget McNally are inviting the public to see how they handle environmental issues.

They are taking part in Fonterra’s “Open Gates” on December 10, when all New Zealanders can see for themselves how dairy farmers are working towards healthier waterways.

The McNallys are the fifth generation of their family on Quambatook, a property near Maheno with an Aboriginal name meaning “place of rest”. They farm in partnership with James’ parents, Ray and Kathrin McNally.

The land was converted to dairying 10 years ago. Its herd of 800 cows will be increased to 900 for the 2018-19 season.

The McNallys said they wanted to be environmental stewards for the next generation, appreciating the fact that dairy farming gave them “a pathway to succession”.

They were looking forward to talking to visitors about running a sustainable dairy business and showing them how much they cared about their environment. The two went hand-in-hand, they said.

“We have a number of small spring-fed creeks and gullies that are all completely fenced off from stock. We run a low stocking rate, low fertiliser and low input system, which helps our environmental footprint.

“At the same time we maintain strong profitability in order to support two families and four great staff members.”

Mr McNally is on the Kakanui irrigation committee, involved in the North Otago Sustainable Land and Management group, and will represent Oamaru at the environmental leaders’ forum in Wellington.

Among the water quality initiatives to be seen during Open Gates are riparian plantings, wetland restoration, fenced waterways and effluent management.

Fonterra was providing children’s activities during the day and a selection of its products.

Registrations to visit the open farms can be made via www.opengates.co.nz