ASB rural boss Steve Jurkovich encourages farmers to front foot environmental issues with the urban population

ASB rural boss Steve Jurkovich encourages farmers to front foot environmental issues with the urban population

By Gareth Vaughan

People in the rural community need to get on the front foot and engage their urban counterparts in an informed conversation about farming and the environment, says ASB's executive general manager of corporate, commercial and rural banking Steve Jurkovich.

Jurkovich told in a Double Shot interview people needed to get off the fence on issues around farming's impact on the environment, including water quality.

"If you look at elections and the way politics works in New Zealand, the urban population obviously greatly outnumbers the rural one. And so having an informed conversation around what is happening on farm is absolutely critical to the sustainability of the industry," said Jurkovich.

"I think literally someone, a group of people, need to get off the fence and actually say 'hey let's get this conversation going, let's get some investment in the area because head in the sand stuff's not going to work'," Jurkovich added.

He said ASB itself also has a role to play.

"We're a big business, we need to contribute and actively put our balance sheet where our mouth is and make sure we get on the front foot."

Meanwhile, Jurkovich said ASB's environmental compliance loan for farmers, which it launched in February last year with other banks following with similar products, has been taken up by "hundreds of customers."

"And sometimes that's the catalyst that's needed to undertake some work that they wanted to do," said Jurkovich.

"The key success factor for me is hopefully hundreds more ASB customers are thinking about what sort of investment they should make around a more sustainable business."

In hundreds of monthly conversations he and other ASB staff have with customers Jurkovich said he had never heard about any farmer customers who aren't aware good stewardship of the land is "absolutely critical" to the future.

"We sort of recognise that there's this massive opportunity coming from an expanding middle class around the world, but it does put pressure on sustainability. And when we say sustainability we mean both environmental and business performance," Jurkovich said.

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You gotta love it when people like Steve Jurkovich start saying farmers need to engage with the urban community. I suggest he gets out of his urban ivory tower and go and spend some time attending zone/catchment/land care trust meetings. Communities are engaging with one another. The people who constantly go on about the environment are usually people like Jurkovich who are not involved at grassroots level water quality engagement. I wonder how much the change in Fonterra supply conditions have to do with his clients taking up increased debt via asb's loan, rather than the Bank being able to imply they deserve the credit.

I've got a spade and a couple of posts that need replacing, he can really get into the grassroots level work.  He can do it in his spare time, just like I have to.

Oh, cowboy, that's too easy.  
Shurely you have a 30 kilolitre slurry tanker that needs its inside disinfected to ward off ebola?

The posts are on a papa bank, can't be rammed.  bloddy steers broke them off, fortunately it was last break feed in that area but I can't use that grazing area until that stream fence is dug, and with 50 calves to feed on my own, finding time is a problem

Exactly CO...there are so many damn mouth pieces out there who have no idea what is going  on and then make stupid media comments!!!!
If really wanted to know about farmer engagement then maybe they too would get out of their offices and into the paddocks and meetings and see for themselves what is actually taking place at grassroots level.
These armchair environmentalist critics are spoon feeding the populace with BS!!!!!!

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