Working with better than against

25/10/2019

The government has seen sense and is accepting the primary sector’s proposal on agricultural emissions.

The agreement means agriculture will not join the Emissions Trading Scheme but instead work with the Government to reduce emissions.

There will be no processor levy from 2020 to 2025 as initially proposed but farmers and growers will have to implement farm plans and calculate their emissions and offsets at the farmgate from 2025.

A processor level would have penalised more efficient farmers and given no-one an incentive to improve.

Such a tax would have taken money from farmers, leaving them with less to invest in on-farm solutions.

Progress will be reviewed in 2022 and if the Government is unhappy it will revert to the original legislation.

That threat will hang over the sector but at least there’s breathing space.

We are pleased that the Government has recognised that it does not make sense to bring agriculture into the ETS and that we have a pathway to work with the Government to develop a more appropriate framework,” the sector said in a joint statement.

“We welcome this pragmatic and sensible decision by the Government to work in partnership with industry to achieve tangible on-farm change and hope that it might provide a blueprint for the way we work together to solve environmental challenges in the future.”

Would it be too much to hope a similar approach could be taken to water policy?

The 11-member primary sector group has committed $25m over five years to achieve these goals.

That group is Apiculture NZ, Beef + Lamb, DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association, Deer Industry NZ, Federation of Maori Authorities, Foundation for Arable Research, Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ and the Meat Industry Association. . .

This shows the importance of unity and what can be achieved when working together.

It also shows the sense of government working with the sector instead of trying to impose impossible goals on it.

Federated Farmers’ response is here.

DairyNZ’s response is here.

 


First they came for the dairy cows . . .

23/07/2014

The environmental lobby hasn’t given up on dairy cows but it has a new bovine target – beef cattle:

A new study into the environmental impact of meat production has singled out beef as the worst offender.

The study says beef requires far more resources than other meats to produce, but industry representatives here say they are working on making the red meat greener. 

New Zealand red meat exports total almost $8 billion annually.

The new study, based on meat production in the United States, which did not include lamb, is pointing the finger at the environmental impact of beef production.

It wouldn’t include lamb because its production is relatively insignificant in the USA.

It found beef needs 28 times more land than that required for the production of poultry and pork, and it requires 11 times more water.

What’s more, the study says beef production leads to five times more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to the other meats. . . 

What’s more, the bulk of USA beef cattle are finished in feed lots rather than grazing free range as they do here.

The cut and carry feed method of production requires a lot more fuel and therefore produces more emissions than free range grazing.

Snap Fresh Food vegetable grower Ashley Berrysmith says greens are the cleanest food choice for people concerned about their carbon footprint. . .

But man, and woman, can’t live on greens alone.

A healthy diet includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables but it also includes a variety of nutrients, protein and some fat all of which are easier to get in the required quantity from red meat than greens.

Agriculture accounts for almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, but Beef and Lamb New Zealand says the industry is getting more efficient.

“We’ve reduced our impact on the environment considerably, producing more meat on less land with less environmental impact,” says Ben O’Brien from Beef and Lamb.

But those behind the study say the science is clear – if you want to pollute less, eat more greens and less red meat.

But that study is from  the USA not New Zealand where beef production is a lot less energy intense.

Red meat production might still cause more greenhouse gas than growing vegetables, but that’s not the only consideration in a healthy diet.

Other considerations are nutrients and price where meat could come out better and let’s not forget that in New Zealand beef cattle graze where no crops could be grown.

Besides the study looks at only one side of the ledger.

Producers can – and do – take measures to minimise and compensate for emissions and most do their best to protect and enhance the environment in other ways too.


Rural round-up

11/07/2011

Confidence lifts on rural up-swing – Tony Chaston:

PGGW’s back to the basics approach and the focusing on its core asset, it’s staff, is a strategy many in the agricultural industry said should have happened years ago.

The direction the previous management had taken the company saw major damage to the once strong PGGW brand, and indirectly to its low share price.

It appears the new owners are giving this company some time to sort its act out, but this will not last forever, and it is no secret that the controlling shareholder interests are more in the seeds area, than other parts of the business . . .

Foreign buyers’ policy affirmed by farmers – RadioNZ:

Federated Farmers has reaffirmed its support for overseas investment in New Zealand agriculture by people who want to come and farm here.

But it’s not so comfortable with foreign coporate investors buying large numbers of farms that could end up in foreign control.

Beef + Lamb promoting trade opportunities with Japan:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen is part of the New Zealand delegation attending the Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo next week, working to strengthen the business relationship between the two countries.

With both countries in recovery mode since devastating earthquakes, common interests are strengthened and there is a realisation that business must play a leading role in moving Japan and New Zealand forward, Petersen said.

On the agenda will be discussion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and while Japan is not yet a party to those negotiations it has signalled its interest.

“If Japan was to join the TPP this would certainly expand the trade opportunities for our two countries within the Asia Pacific region. . .

Woolly thinking it’s not – Peter Kerr:

For a change, you can’t call this woolly thinking

The wool industry got some interesting ‘innovation things’ happening at the moment.

Firstly, there’s a consortium consisting of the Wool Research Organisation of NZ, industry participants and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, that’s collectively investing $3m a year over the next five years on a range of projects. This is being managed by Wool Industry Research Ltd. (WIRL) and is examining some industry good projects and confidential individual company co-funded wool projects to help move the fibre up the value chain.

But, of more immediate interest is a project, initially kicked off by WRONZ, now managed by WIRL, which commissioned a New York based innovation consultancy to find some new, better paying, markets for wool. . .

Scientists in Scotland decode potato genome – BBC:

An international team of scientists based in Scotland has decoded the full DNA sequence of the potato for the first time.

The breakthrough holds out the promise of boosting harvests of one of the
world’s most important staple crops.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee say it should soon be
possible to develop improved varieties of potato much more quickly. . .

Rabobank’s Agribusiness review June 2011:

Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division (FAR), the report provides monthly commentary on New Zealand and Australian agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
•June was mild in New Zealand, with winter really only arriving at the end of the month. The seasonal outlook in New Zealand is generally for warmer than average temperatures and wetter than average rainfall. Continuing dry conditions across Australia through June, consistent with the end of the La Nina event and expected to prevail into spring, have switched the focus back to how much rain will fall on winter crops over coming months. . .

The full report is here.


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